The elastic and viscoelastic responses of inhomogeneous polymers upon interacting with an atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe are simultaneously characterized by a bimodal AFM approach namely the amplitude- And frequency-modulation (AM-FM) method. In this approach, the AFM probe is operated in the AM mode at the first flexural frequency and in the FM mode at a higher flexural frequency. The AM mode provides information about the viscoelasticity of polymers in terms of the mechanical loss tangent, whereas the modulus of polymers is obtained as a function of the frequency shift of flexural frequencies in both modes. For a glassy polymer blend, the AM-FM method provides a consistent result in both the elastic modulus and loss tangent in comparison with those obtained by other methods. Moreover, a significant improvement of the contrast and lateral resolution in the AM-FM modulus image can be observed. However, the current approach shows a substantial increase in the modulus of rubbery polymers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)