Schiavone, M.-M.; Iwase, H.; Takata, S.-I.; Radulescu, A. The Multilevel Structure of Sulfonated Syndiotactic-Polystyrene Model Polyelectrolyte Membranes Resolved by Extended Q-Range Contrast Variation SANS. Membranes2019, 9, 136.
Schiavone, M.-M.; Iwase, H.; Takata, S.-I.; Radulescu, A. The Multilevel Structure of Sulfonated Syndiotactic-Polystyrene Model Polyelectrolyte Membranes Resolved by Extended Q-Range Contrast Variation SANS. Membranes 2019, 9, 136.
Membranes based on sulfonated synditoactic polystyrene were thoroughly characterized by contrast variation SANS over a wide Q-range in dry and hydrated states. The film samples were prepared by solid-state sulfonation that allowed a uniform sulfonation of only the amorphous phase while preserving the crystallinity of the membrane. The samples were loaded with different guest molecules in either the amorphous (fullerenes) or the crystalline (toluene) regions, in order to vary the neutron contrast or to reproduce the conditions enabling an increased resistance of the membranes to chemical decomposition. The use of uni-axially deformed film samples and contrast variation with different H2O/D2O mixtures allowed for the identification and characterization of different structural levels with sizes between nm and μm, which form and evolve in the membrane morphology in dry and hydrated states and produce scattering features on different detection sectors and at different detection distances after the sample, depending on their size and orientation.
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