Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Asylum Research Webinar: New Advances in AFM Characterization of Polymers



Whether investigating fundamental research principles or engineering a specific product, the atomic force microscope (AFM) is a key instrument for evaluating polymers and polymer blends. Its spatial resolution enables visualization of sub-micrometer and sub-nanometer morphology and structure. However, recent advances mean that AFMs can also measure the physical properties and functional behavior of polymers at small length scales. In addition to familiar topographic imaging, AFMs can probe molecular-level forces; map mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties; and assess solvent and thermal effects in near real time. This webinar provides an overview of the AFM’s powerful capabilities for polymers characterization and will cover:

  • AFM methods for fast topographic imaging, even in liquids and at high temperatures
  • Recent advances in viscoelastic measurements
  • Nanomechanical mapping of rubber blends
  • AFM techniques to probe electrical and functional behavior

About Your Lecturers

Dr. Donna Hurley is a consultant in AFM measurement techniques and their application to materials science. Until 2014 she was a senior scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. There, she led a team to develop and apply contact resonance AFM techniques for nanomechanical mapping of materials. She has a Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Anna Kepas-Suwara joined the Advanced Material and Product Development Unit at TARRC as a Senior Materials Scientist in 2008. Since then, she has been involved in AFM and nanoindentation studies of rubber compounds. Her research interests involve visualization of materials’ structure under strain, relaxation phenomena in polymers, and nanomechanical mapping of polymers and polymer blends. She received her Ph.D. in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Wroclaw (Poland) in 2007.

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