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Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy of polymers performed in a scanning transmission X-ray microscope (STXM) can provide chemical speciation with <0.1 gm spatial resolution in imaging mode. The core excitation spectra of molecular compounds that are structural analogues of polymers help interpret the NEXAFS spectra of polymers. The effect of nt-delocalization on polymer NEXAFS is discussed and illustrated by comparison to molecular spectra. Extended Htickel calculations are particularly useful for providing insight into the relationship between chemical structure and the molecular and polymer spectra. We report the interpretation of experimental NEXAFS spectra of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Molecular models indicate that NEXAFS will be sensitive to structural isomerization in polyester polymers. We demonstrate the capability of NEXAFS to distinguish hard-segment and soft-segment phase segregation in polyurethanes.
We have utilized the scanning transmission x-ray microscope at Brookhaven National Laboratory to acquire high energy resolution spectra of various polymers and to investigate the bulk characteristics of multiphasic polymeric materials with chemical sensitivity at a spatial resolution of about 50 nm. We present studies ranging from phase separated liquid crystalline polyesters and polyurethanes to various polymer blends. Improvements in the NEXAFS imaging and spectral acquisition protocol in the recent past provide much improved spectral fidelity and include in situ energy calibration with CO2.
We describe how the scanning transmission x-ray microscope at Brookhaven National Laboratory can be used to investigate the bulk characteristics of polymeric materials with chemical sensitivity at a spatial resolution of about 50 nm. We present examples ranging from unoriented multiphase polymers to highly oriented Kevlar fibers. In the case of oriented samples, a dichroism technique is used to determine the orientation of specific chemical bonds. Extension of the technique to investigate surfaces of thick samples is discussed.
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