Optical activity, used here for the first time to gain information about the amorphous solid state, allows previously unavailable insight into the dynamic properties of polymer glasses and their effect on a chemical process. This is accomplished by dispersing in polymer glasses atropisomeric bridged binaphthyls with appended oligophenyl paddles of varying sizes and studying the racemization kinetics as a function of temperature. The racemization occurs by a simple one-dimensional twisting motion and, without effect on the intrinsic mechanism, sweeps out a variable volume of the matrix as the paddle length is increased. The racemization is limited by the polymer matrix only for probes with a minimum paddle size and only when the time scale for racemization is comparable to the time scale for segmental motion of the polymer matrix. The high barrier for this racemization is unique in probe studies of glasses and causes these overlapping time scales to occur significantly below the glass transition temperature. These measurements yield a clear quantitative view of the role of segmental dynamics on the racemization kinetics of the binaphthyls and allow the important demonstration, via the transition from first-order to stretched exponential kinetics, that heterogeneous dynamics persist deep within the glassy state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry