Photoacid Generators for Catalytic Decomposition of Polycarbonate
Cupta, Mark Glenn
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It is the goal of this body of work to research an assortment of different photoacid generators (PAGs) and quantify their ability to perform the decomposition of poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC). Adding PAGs to PPC allows for a decreased polymer decomposition temperature, which can in turn be used as a sacrificial polymer for the fabrication of various microelectromechanical and microfluidic devices. A focus will be placed on relating the properties of the PAG such as acid strength, acid volatility, and PAG activation to processing issues like percentage of total film decomposition, amount and composition of film residue, decomposition rate, decomposition temperature, and environmental dependencies. This research discovered that the use of superacid triflic and nonaflic based PAGs were not adequate for the decomposition of PPC due to the high vapor pressure of the acid. Furthermore, the non-fluorinated sulfonic acid based PAGs do not posses the super-acid level acidity needed to sufficiently decompose PPC. Conversely, a perfluorinated methide and a tetrakis(pentafluoropheyl)borate based PAG both demonstrated the capability for high level PPC decomposition. Building on the knowledge gained through experimentation with these individual PAGs, the creation of a novel Combination PAG was accomplished. The Combination PAG uses acid groups with different physical properties collectively working to achieve what neither could complete individually.