Layered structure in the crystalline adsorption layer and the leaching process of poly(vinyl alcohol) revealed by neutron reflectivity
Miyazaki, Tsukasa*; Miyata, Noboru*; Arima, Hiroshi*; Kira, Hiroshi*; Ouchi, Keiichi*; Kasai, Satoshi*; Tsumura, Yoshihiro*; Aoki, Hiroyuki
We investigated the structure of the crystalline adsorption layer of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) in hot water by neutron reflectivity in two cases: when the adsorption layer is exposed on the substrate by leaching the upper bulk layer and when it is deeply embedded between a relatively thick PVA film and substrate. In both cases, the PVA adsorption layer consists of three layers on the Si substrate. The bottom layer, consisting of amorphous chains that are strongly constrained on the substrate, is not swollen even in hot water at 90C. The middle layer, consisting of amorphous chains that are much more mobile compared with those in the bottom layer, has no freedom to assume a crystalline form. Only the molecular chains in the top layer are crystallizable in the adsorption layer, leading to a heterogeneous layered structure in the film thickness direction. This layered structure is attributed to the crystallizable chains of PVA during the formation of the adsorption layer driven by hydrogen bonding. However, the structure and dynamics in the adsorption layer may differ in both cases because the molecular chains in the vicinity of the surface seem to be affected by surface effects even in the adsorption layer.