Nanorheological analysis of polymer surfaces by atomic force microscopy

Hideyuki Nukaga, So Fujinami, Hiroyuki Watabe, Ken Nakajima, Toshio Nishi

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Surfaces of polymer blends were investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study their nanomechanical properties (nanorheology). We were particularly interested in information obtained from force-distance curve methods on rubbery or melt state samples. In order to realize clear comparison, a rubbery sample, polyisobutylene (PIB), was blended with a glassy-state sample, polystyrene (PS). When PS/PIB blends were observed in contact-mode operation, PIB-rich phases appeared as depressions. However, this was an artifact caused by the very low elastic modulus of PIB. By analyzing the force-distance curve, sample deformation by the force exerted was estimated together with real height free from sample deformation. Thus, if force-distance curve measurements are performed on every point of the sample (force-volume measurements), we can reconstruct a "real height image" and a "sample deformation image." The apparent depressions became almost flat in the "real height image" by this analysis. With further analysis using Hertz theory, an elastic modulus image of the sample was also obtained, which correlated more closely with the "real height image" than with the "apparent height image."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5425-5429
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1: Regular Papers and Short Notes and Review Papers
Issue number7 B
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul 26
Externally publishedYes


  • AFM
  • Elastic modulus
  • Force volume
  • Force-distance curve
  • Nanorheology
  • Polymer blend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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