Conducting polymer networks synthesized by photopolymerization-induced phase separation

Yuki Yamashita, Kana Komori, Tasuku Murata, Hideyuki Nakanishi, Tomohisa Norisuye, Takeshi Yamao and Qui Tran-Cong-Miyata

  • ANSN Editor
Keywords: nano


Polymer mixtures composed of double networks of a polystyrene derivative (PSAF) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) were alternatively synthesized by using ultraviolet (UV) and visible (Vis) light. The PSAF networks were generated by UV irradiation to photodimerize the anthracene (A) moieties labeled on the PSAF chains, whereas PMMA networks were produced by photopolymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer and the cross-link reaction using ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) under Vis light irradiation. It was found that phase separation process of these networks can be independently induced and promptly controlled by using UV and Vis light. The characteristic length scale distribution of the resulting co-continuous morphology can be well regulated by the UV and Vis light intensity. In order to confirm and utilize the connectivity of the bicontinuous morphology observed by confocal microscopy, a very small amount, 0.1 wt%, of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) was introduced into the mixture and the current–voltage (IV) relationship was subsequently examined. Preliminary data show that MWCNTs are preferentially dispersed in the PSAF-rich continuous domains and the whole mixture became electrically conducting, confirming the connectivity of the observed bi-continuous morphology. The experimental data obtained in this study reveal a promising method to design various scaffolds for conducting soft matter taking advantages of photopolymerization-induced phase separation

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