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Characterization of Polymers and Their Surfaces Using Ultra-Soft X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy

  • Gary E. Mitchell (a1), Benjamin M. Dekoven (a1), David R. Speth (a1), Mark E. Jones (a1), James J. Curphy (a1), Donald L. Schmidt (a1), Alvin T. Yeh (a2), John L. Gland (a2) and Daniel A. Fischer (a3)...


In this paper we illustrate the use of Ultra Soft X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (USXAS) for the characterization of polymeric materials by highlighting three novel applications of the technique. The surface sensitivity of electron yield (3 nm) and the bulk information available from fluorescence yield USXAS (200 nm) provide unique information on the chemistry of polymer surfaces and interfaces. USXAS is sensitive to both concentration and orientation of functional groups in polymers. The systems highlighted here include the characterization of flame treated model acrylic automotive coatings, ultra-low surface energy crosslinked fluorocarbon films, and spin cast polystyrene films. The chemical and surface sensitivity of the technique are emphasized by the ability of USXAS to detect an increase in the trigonally coordinated carbon at the surface after treatment with a reducing flame. The sensitivity to functional group orientation at the surface is demonstrated by the characterization of the crosslinked flurocarbon polymer films. The results show that the pendant fluoroalkyl moieties of these polymers are strongly oriented perpendicular to the film surface. Spin coated polystyrene films were characterized as a functionv of molecular weight, film thickness and casting solvent. The pendant phenyl groups were found to be preferentially oriented towards the normal to the surface plane, independent of casting solvent, molecular weight, and film thickness



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