We report a new methodology for studying diffusion of individual polymer chains in a melt state, with special emphasis on the effect of chain topology. A perylene diimide fluorophore was incorporated into the linear and cyclic poly(THF)s, and real-time diffusion behavior of individual chains in a melt of linear poly(THF) was measured by means of a single-molecule fluorescence imaging technique. The combination of mean squared displacement (MSD) and cumulative distribution function (CDF) analysis demonstrated the broad distribution of diffusion coefficient of both the linear and cyclic polymer chains in the melt state. This indicates the presence of spatiotemporal heterogeneity of the polymer diffusion which occurs at much larger time and length scales than those expected from the current polymer physics theory. We further demonstrated that the cyclic chains showed marginally slower diffusion in comparison with the linear counterparts, to suggest the effective suppression of the translocation through the threading-entanglement with the linear matrix chains. This coincides with the higher activation energy for the diffusion of the cyclic chains than of the linear chains. These results suggest that the single-molecule imaging technique provides a powerful tool to analyze complicated polymer dynamics and contributes to the molecular level understanding of the chain interaction. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry