Polymer Technology Group

Atomic Force Microscopy

The atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques can be applied for measurements of surface roughness of various samples and also for quantitative examination of shapes/profiles of technologically important surface structures, e.g. semiconductor wafers, lithography masks, magnetic media, biomaterials. In the past decade, many researchers have recognized the importance of AFM as a characterization technique for macromolecules and polymer materials. Small nanometer-scale features as individual macromolecules and their assemblies (e.g. lamellae) as well as larger-scale morphologies can be easily recognized in AFM images. Also the fact that stiffness of AFM probes is comparable with stiffness of polymer materials allows a discrimination of sample locations with different mechanical properties. In this way, various components of heterogeneous polymer materials can be identified in the images.