Abstract

Infrared microspectroscopy was used to generate functional group images of liquid crystal (E7) droplets dispersed in poly(<i>n</i>-butyl methacrylate) (PBMA). The spatial concentration fluctuations that occur within the system were studied as a function of time. This approach is possible because spectral information can be obtained by focusing on regions on the order of tens of micrometers. The peak intensities were used as a measure of concentration of the components. The amount of liquid crystal dissolved in the polymer matrix determines the extent to which the polymer is plasticized, which in turn affects the shape and size of the droplets. The growth of the domains at any temperature is also determined by whether the system is maintained above or below the glass transition temperature of the matrix. It is observed that the growth of the droplets follows temporal power laws. The spatially resolved spectroscopic images provide valuable insight into the phase separation process and the formation of microdroplets of E7 in PBMA.

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