PDMS Membrane Characterization by Atomic Force Microscopy

Tosca AFM has been applied to characterize pit arrays on soft PDMS membranes. The distribution and 3D geometry of the pits are precisely measured from high resolution AFM topography images.

1 Introduction

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is an inert, non-toxic and non-flammable mineral organic polymer. It has very broad applications ranging from food and medical supplies to elastomers and lubricants. For instance, it is used to mold microfluidic devices in their fabrication process. It is used in shampoos to make hair shiny and slippery. It is used as an anti-foaming agent (E900) in beverages and as a protective layer on fats and oils against oxygen. It is also used as membrane for applications in laboratory and medical devices such as catheters, implants, valves, gaskets, etc. to work as a barrier to liquids and permeable route for gases due to its outstanding permeability for common gases. PDMS membranes can also be patterned for applications in micro lenses or wafer bonding and packaging.

Atomic force microscopy, utilizing a sharp probe to scan across the surface and record images, provides high resolution in both lateral and vertical direction. It is an ideal tool to image the surface of membranes. In this study we used Tosca Atomic Force Microscope to characterize patterns on the surface of PDMS membranes.

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