TABLE OF CONTENTS
Photothermal AFM-IR spectroscopy combines the high spatial resolution of atomic force microscopy (AFM) with the chemical identification capability of infrared (IR) spectroscopy to allow for the chemical characterization of samples in nanoscale detail.
The operating principle for photothermal AFM-IR can be explained in just three simple steps:
AFM-IR spectra can be interpreted just like Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra. Leveraging this ease of nanoscale chemical identification and combining it with correlated mechanical measurements on the AFM provides a valuable solution for polymer research.
Polymeric materials tend to have a lot of nanoscale variation, even in homopolymers. Thus, it is often vital to understand the nanoscale relationship between local chemistry, structure, and properties.
Many polymer researchers investigate these nanoscale chemistry-structure-property relationships to:
Photothermal AFM-IR can provide nanoscale chemical information with highly resolved IR spectra. Paired with standard and emerging AFM techniques, this chemical identification capability can be correlated with topographical and property data, supporting both materials development and process improvement research.
Bruker’s photothermal AFM-IR platforms can non-destructively measure chemical inhomogeneity on the scale of a few nanometers while also offering the most correlative AFM modes for further localized properties, such as modulus, adhesion, melting point, work-function and more.
IR spectroscopic analysis is essential for chemical ID in polymer research. With AFM-IR, researchers can take advantage of the ease and versatility of FTIR characterization without being limited to a resolution of tens of microns. Though the measurement mechanism differs between FTIR and AFM-IR, the data collection and analysis processes are analogous.
The absorption coefficient is the property measured by FTIR and correlated with AFM-IR; as such, AFM-IR spectra can be interpreted just like FTIR spectra. Analysis of AFM-IR data can even be completed using established spectral libraries like Wiley’s KnowItAll.
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a nanoscale metrology and imaging technique that can evaluate:
By leveraging the tip-sample interaction required for AFM, photothermal AFM-IR extends the capabilities of AFM to include chemical identification. Adding AFM-IR to the AFM modes toolbox enables advanced polymers research in many fields, including:
Bruker’s Photothermal AFM-IR technology and correlative imaging further helps understand and expand on existing materials and polymer processes by:
Pictured: Correlated imaging on styrene-butadiene rubber-a synthetic rubber widely used for automobile tires-with carbon black fillers
Bruker’s AFM-IR technology, enhanced by correlative mechanical imaging can be effectively used to develop next-generation polymeric materials. Bruker’s technology can:
“The AFM-IR solves a longstanding need in polymeric materials development for chemical analysis at the nanoscale. By doing it with an AFM, it simultaneously addresses one of the most important missing capabilities of the scanning probe microscopy platform – lack of chemical specificity, thus enabling the further growth of the AFM technique in new applications and markets. We are now able to ‘see’ the chemistry in the morphology.”