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Chemistry - Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Engineering | Polymer Microscopy

Polymer Microscopy

Sawyer, Linda, Grubb, David, Meyers, Gregory F.

3rd ed. 2008

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  • Now revised and updated, this book remains the gold standard for information on the characterization of polymer microstructure
  • Describes a wide variety of polymer systems and characterization techniques
  • Covers both basic and applied topics, which makes this book ideal as a professional reference and teaching text

Polymer Microscopy, Third Edition, is a comprehensive and practical guide to the study of the microstructure of polymers, and is the result of the authors' many years of academic and industrial experience. To address the needs of students and professionals from a variety of backgrounds, introductory chapters deal with the basic concepts of both polymer morphology and processing and microscopy and imaging theory. The core of the book is more applied, with many examples of specimen preparation and image interpretation leading to materials characterization. Microscopy is applied to the characterization of a wide range of polymer systems, including fibers, films, engineering resins and plastics, composites, nanocomposites, polymer blends, emulsions and liquid crystalline polymers. Light microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy techniques are all considered, as are emerging techniques such as compositional mapping in which microscopy is combined with spectroscopy. This extensively updated and revised new edition closes with a problem solving guide, which provides a systematic framework for deciding on suitable approaches to the characterization of polymer microstructure.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Extrusion - Materials characterization - Polymer - Polymer microscopy - Resol - crystal - diffraction - electron diffraction - electron microscopy - liquid - microscopy - morphology - spectroscopy - transmission electron microscopy

Related subjects » Characterization & Evaluation of Materials - Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Engineering - Polymer Science

Table of contents 

Introduction to polymer morphology. -Polymer materials. -Introduction. -Definitions. -Polymer morphology. -Amorphous polymers. -Semicrystalline polymers. -Liquid crystalline polymers. -Polymer processes. -Others that could be incorporated into 3rd ed.include: blown film processing; coating process, multi-layer extrusion. -Extrusion of fibers and films. -Extrusion and molding. -Polymer characterization. -General techniques. -Microscopy techniques. -Specimen preparation methods. -Applications of microscopy to polymers. -New microscopy techniques. -Fundamentals of microscopy. -Introduction. -Lens - imaging microscopes. -Scanning - imaging microscopes. -Optical microscopy (OM). -Introduction

Objective lenses

Imaging modes

Measurement of refractive index

Polarized light

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)


Imaging signals

SEM optimization

Special SEM types

-FESEM is now standard

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

Imaging in the TEM

Diffraction techniques

Phase contrast and lattice imaging

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM)


Family of techniques figure, with emphasis on force microscopy

Imaging Modes

a) Contact mode, incl. force modulation and friction;b) Tapping and Phase;c) Non- contact, incl. EFM and MFM

SPM Probes

Microscopy of radiation sensitive materials

condense this section, and/or move to new artifacts or issues topic

SEM operation

Low dose TEM operation

Analytical microscopy

X-ray microanalysis

X-ray analysis in the SEM vs AEM

Elemental mapping


Electron energy loss in conjuntion with morphology (TEM)

Quantitative microscopy


-describe needs for SPM - 3 dimensional calibration of distance; force calibration

Image processing

Stereology and image analysis

-description of advantages of phase image contrast by SPM as input for IA

Dynamic microscopy

Stages for dynamic microscopy

Include SPM tensile and hot stages

Imaging theory

Imaging with lenses

Basic optics


Electron diffraction

Contrast mechanisms

Illumination systems

Imaging by scanning electron beam

Scanning optics

Beam - specimen interactions

Image formation

Imaging by scanning a solid probe

-complete re-write, simplifying equations for important concepts

Contact modes

Force interactions, Image and contrast formation

Intermittent contact mode and phase imaging

Force interactions, all the stuff about cantilever dynamics, linear vs. non-linear and practical aspects of contrast formation

Non-contact modes

Long range forces and image formation in EFM and MFM

Artifacts due to probe-surface interaction

Polarizing microscopy

Polarized light

Anisotropic materials

Polarizing microscopy

Radiation effects

- will consider moving to a topic on artifacts

Effect of radiation on polymers

Radiation doses and specimen heating

Effects of radiation damage on the image

Noise limited resolution

Image processing

Specimen preparation methods

Simple preparation methods

Optical methods

SEM methods

TEM methods

SPM methods



Peelback of fibers/films for SEM

Microtomy for OM

MIcrotomy for SEM

Microtomy for SPM

Microtomy for TEM

Ultrathin sectioning

Ultrathin cryosectioning



Osmium tetroxide


Chlorosulfonic acid

Phosphotungstic acid

Ruthenium tetroxide

Silver sulfide

Mercuric trifluoroacetate





Plasma and ion etching

Solvent and chemical etching

Acid etching



Simple replicas

Replication for TEM

Conductive coatings

Coating devices

Coatings for TEM

Coatings for SEM and SPM


Gold decoration

Yielding and fracture


Fracture: standard physical testing

In situ deformation

in-situ AFM tensile stages


thinning in crazed zones

Freezing and drying methods

Simple freezing methods

Freeze drying

Critical point drying

Freeze fracture-etching

Polymer applications

Include in each of those specific SPM examples



Textile fibers

Problem solving applications

Industrial fibers

Films and membranes


Model studies

Industrial films

Thin Films for Electronics

Abrasion Resistant Coatings

Flat film membranes

Hollow fiber membranes

Engineering resins and plastics


Semicrystalline polymers

Amorphous polymers

Extrudates and molded parts

Multiphase polymers

Failure analysis

Image analysis of impact modified resins



Composite characterization

Fiber composites

Particle filled composites

Carbon black filled rubber


Emulsions and adhesives




Adhesives and adhesion

Liquid crystalline polymers

Decrease level of detail in this section


Optical textures

Solid state structures

High modulus fibers

Structure-property relations in LCPs



New techniques in polymer microscopy

This will be an entirely new chapter


Optical microscopy

Confocal scanning microscopy

Near field optical microscopy

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Low voltage SEM

High resolution SEM

High pressure (environmental) SEM

EDS detection

Solid State detectors

Calorimetric detectors

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

High resolution TEM

Structure determination by electron diffraction

environmental TEM

3D tomography

Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)

Only keep a small section

Principles of STM

Instrumentation and operation of the STM

STM of insulators

Adsorbed organic molecules

Other polymer applications

Scanning force microscopy (SFM)

6.6.1 New probes and atomic resolution

6.6.2 Fast scanning SPMs

6.6.3 Nanoscale mechanical mapping

6.6.4 Environmental SPM

6.6.5 Chemical Force Microscopy (CFM)

6.6.6 Nanomanipulation with AFM

New emerging techniques

Near field scanning optical microscopy

X-ray microscopy (STXM


X-ray methodologies

Micro-CT or Nano-CT (benchtop x- ray)

     -resolution and speed for identifying flaws

Imaging surface science

Short section if included at all-SIMS, XPS, PEEM, SPEM

Problem solving summary

Where to start

Problem solving protocol

Polymer structures

Instrumental techniques

Comparison of techniques

Optical techniques

SEM techniques

TEM techniques

STEM techniques

SFM techniques

Technique selection




Supporting characterizations

X-ray diffraction

Thermal analysis







Appendix I Abbreviations of polymer names

Appendix II List of acronyms - techniques

Appendix III Manmade polymer fibers

Appendix IV Common commercial polymers and tradenames for plastics, films and engineering resins

See what reviewers think about need for update below

Appendix V General suppliers of microscopy accessories

Appendix VI Suppliers of optical and electron microscopes

Appendix VII Suppliers of x-ray microanalysis equipment

Appendix VIII Suppliers of scanning probe microscopes


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