Dynamics of Water-Induced Surface Reorganization in Poly(methyl methacrylate) Films

At the outermost surface, aggregation states of polymers generally tend to alter to their most stable ones in response to their surrounding environment. We here apply a time-resolved contact angle measurement to study the rate of the surface reorganization of poly­(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) in water. By doing these measurements at various temperatures, it is possible to determine the apparent activation energy of the surface dynamics based on the relation of the surface relaxation time and temperature. Also, the sum-frequency generation spectroscopy revealed that the surface reorganization involves the conformational changes in the main chain part as well as the side chains. Hence, the dynamics observed here may reflect the segmental motion at the outermost region of the PMMA film, in which water plays as a plasticizer.