The band origins and transitions of weak vibrational modes developed in the 3500 cm−1 region of polylactide (PLA) spectra during crystallization are investigated. The band assignment to the OH stretching mode of terminal hydroxyls is unlikely because the trace amount of chain-ends is negligible considering the long chain of high molecular weight polymer. The band intensity can be enhanced for quantitative study by increasing the sample film thickness. The results show that the transition patterns of these bands mimic those of C=O stretching modes. Therefore, these are assigned to C=O overtones. Two bands associated with crystalline and amorphous characteristics are revealed during cold crystallization. The crystalline C=O bands of PDLA and its stereocomplex counterpart are located at 3510 cm−1 and 3482 cm−1, respectively, indicating a weaker C=O bond in the latter crystal structure. Two-dimensional Fourier transform infrared (2D-FT-IR) correlation spectroscopy is then applied to study the correlation between C=O overtones and the crystalline characteristic band located near 900 cm−1. The transitions of the two vibrational modes observed in crystallization of the stereocomplex are in-phase with each other. This reflects an involvement of short-range hydrogen bonding in the stereocomplex crystal structure. In contrast, crystallization of PDLA shows that the C=O overtone varies prior to that of the C–H character, indicating that dipole–dipole force is a crystal-induced interaction.
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