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Polymer Surface Characterization by AFM

Introduction

The surface properties of polymeric materials are central to their behavior in formulation and manufacturing processes, as well as in their target applications.

The atomic force microscope (AFM) is a powerful tool for characterizing polymer surfaces at the nanoscale. It provides not only surface morphology, but also phase contrast between different components in polymer blends.

Experimental

Polystyrene (PS), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene) (SBS), were dissolved in toluene as 10 mg/mL solutions. The solutions were mixed to form three blends; PMMA/SBS, PS/SBS, and PMMA/PS in the ratios of 2:1, 1:1, and 1:1, respectively. The samples were spin-coated onto silicon wafers at 100 rps for 5 s. PMMA/SBS and PS/SBS were left to dry under ambient conditions, while PMMA/PS was annealed at 70 °C for 2 h.

All AFM measurements were made under ambient conditions in tapping mode.

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