Chemistry and morphology of polymer thin films for electro-optical application

Simon, D 2006, Chemistry and morphology of polymer thin films for electro-optical application, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Applied Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Chemistry and morphology of polymer thin films for electro-optical application
Author(s) Simon, D
Year 2006
Abstract Thin polymer films and their properties have been investigated. The characteristics of crystalline polymers according to film thickness have been improved using polycaprolactone (PCL). The melting enthalpy of PCL has increased when the film thickness decreased and the peak melting temperature showed no significant changes with film thickness. Film thickness variation influenced surface roughness and crystal size. Optical microscope images showed the rougher surface of thicker films. The spinning time has shown no influence on film thickness and no significant changes to surface roughness. Thin films of block copolymers were used in the surface modification study; films studied included poly(styrene-b-butadiene-b-styrene) (SBS) and poly(styrene-b-isoprene-b-styrene) (SIS) and their surface modifications have been controlled using different methods of treatment. Films of SIS heated at different temperatures have shown different surface texture and roughness. Films treated at low temperature (45 °C) had smooth surfaces when compared with films heated at high temperature (120 °C and 160 °C). Phase separation of SIS heated at (120 °C and 160 °C) caused bulges of different sizes to cover the surface. The height and width of the bulges showed variation with film thickness and heating. Substrate interaction with SBS and SIS block copolymer films showed different surface texture when using the same type of substrate and different texture were obtained when SBS solutions were spun onto different substrates. It has been demonstrated that using different solvents in copolymer preparation caused different texture. Thermal and surface property variations with film thickness have been improved using amorphous polymers. Surface roughness of poly(methyl methacrylate) PMMA and disperse red 1-poly(methyl methacrylate) DR1-PMMA, PMMA has improved using thickness variation. Glass transition temperature measurement has increased when film thickness was increased. The glass transition temperature (Tg) and surface roughness of UV15 UV - curable coating polymer has been modified using UV curing and heating methods. Tg variation was observed when curing time and curing intensity were changed causing the optical properties of the polymer to be more variable. A plasma etcher caused wrinkles to occur on the surface of unheated UV15. Tg of UV15 increased when curing time increased. The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra of cured UV15 film have shown peak variations of the ester and carbon double bond regions over the range of 1850-1700 cm-1. Urethane-Urea (UU) Polymer thin films were used to investigate optical properties and develop an optical waveguide. Absorption and transmission properties of light using non-linear optical (NLO) polymer was investigated and used in optical waveguide fabrication. Refractive indices were measured to examine UU films at two different wavelengths. A UU film of 1 µm thickness caused a maximum absorption at max = 471 nm also obtained at 810 nm wavelength. Many methods of fabrication were used; photolithography, plasma etching in a barrel reactor and thin film deposition using sputtering and evaporation. Etched depths from 1 μm to 100 μm were obtained. An optical waveguide has been prepared using plasma etching of a cured UV15 as a cladding layer on a silicon substrate.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Applied Sciences
Keyword(s) Liquid crystal films
Polymer liquid crystals
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