American Chemical Society National Meeting 2012
August 19-23 2012, Philadelphia
Invited talk by Dr. Jamie Hobbs entitled "Recent developments in atomic force microscopy for the study of semi-crystalline polymers"
There remain many open questions about how polymers crystallize and the nature of structures formed at length scales between the crystalline lattice and the gross lamellar morphology. AFM has enabled crystal growth kinetics to be followed at the individual lamella scale, showing the unexpectedly complex relationship between local and macroscopic growth rates. A brief overview of our work in this area using both conventional and high speed AFM will be given. However, until recently AFM has failed to reach its potential to probe the microstructure of polymers at the single chain level. A new AFM technique, torsional tapping AFM, will be presented that enables direct imaging with single chain resolution even in thick, processed films. Details of chain topology, including chain folds, chain defects, helical chain conformation within crystals and chain by chain variations in crystal thickness will be presented. The future outlook for the approach will also be discussed.