Polymers occupy a multidisciplinary intersection between biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. They form the backbone of countless commercial products and have become pervasive in everyday life. Polymer science research is subsequently one of the most diversified fields currently under exploration. Commercial packaging quality testing, photoconductivity of organic solar cells, formulation of rubber blends for tires: the scope of polymer science research is limitless.
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is uniquely suited to the expansive demands of polymer science research. It enables a quantitative assessment of a polymer sample’s macromolecular or nanomechanical properties, high-resolution measurement of surface morphology and roughness analysis, and quantitative mapping of mechanical properties like modulus at the nanoscale.
These capabilities were revolutionized with the introduction of the Cypher family of AFMs, and have been optimized with each new generation of instruments. This blog post will explore the Cypher ES Polymer Edition AFM, which has been configured to excel in polymer science research beyond any other AFM system.
The Cypher ES Polymer Edition is among the world’s most robust atomic force microscopes (AFMs) for polymer science research. It starts with the class-leading performance of the Cypher AFM family and is then configured with additional hardware and analytical capabilities to provide nanomechanical and topographical information on complex polymeric products.
Firstly, the AFM comes equipped with blueDriveTM photothermal excitation. This innovative technology eliminates artifacts associated with piezoacoustic excitation by directly actuating cantilevers through photothermal excitation. To achieve this, an additional laser is introduced to the system and focussed on the cantilever. Its power is modulated to drive the cantilever resonance thermal induction of stress. The result is a much cleaner, consistent, and more stable response for tapping mode imaging. This is ideal for polymer science research as it also provides more quantitative results for nanomechanical measurements of complex polymeric samples.
The AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping Mode is the second key augmentation that enhances the Cypher ES Polymer Edition for polymer science research. It offers the most rapid nanomechanical mapping mode to determine a sample’s mechanical properties with line rates of up to 20 Hz. This mode is operable over a wide modulus range of ~50 kPa - 300 GPa and is capable of quantitatively characterizing the storage modulus (E’) and loss tangent (δ) of a sample at temperatures up to 250°C.
The broad operating parameters of the Cypher ES Polymer Edition offer the unmatched capability for characterizing the viscoelastic responses of polymer samples.
Asylum Research is a specialist in AFM, with a track record for innovating the technology’s capabilities beyond conventional topographic measurements. We have introduced a range of Cypher AFMs capable of measuring the nanomechanical properties of material science samples, with an array of potential applications in polymer science research fields.
Alongside quantitative assessments of the nanomechanical characteristics of a polymer sample, we provide AFMs suitable for quality control (QC) testing, layer thickness, uniformity measurements, photoconductivity assessments, and single chain polymer stretching.
If you would like any more information about our Cypher ES Polymer Edition, please do not hesitate to contact us.