Designing High-Efficiency Nanofiber Filters Using the Fibermetric Software from Phenom-World

By AZoNano Staff Writers

Topics Covered

Introduction
Fibermetric Yields Nanofiber Data in Minutes
Steps for Using Fibermetric to Obtain Nanofiber Images Quickly
     Filtration Fiber Measurement
Nanofiber Filters
Comparing a Nanofiber Filter Image Made with the Phenom vs. a Light Microscope
Value of the Fibermetric Software
Conclusions
About Phenom-World

Introduction

Nonwoven nanofibers are enabling the development of a new generation of highly sensitive filters. Increasing global demand is creating the need for enhanced production and quality control methods.

Traditionally, researchers have been using slow, costly laboratory SEMs in the development of their nanofiber filter media. When fibers are below 0.5µm, only an SEM can reveal critical fiber details. It is not possible to determine the key features during nanofiber filter design.

Fibermetric Yields Nanofiber Data in Minutes

Fibermetric is an integrated system designed for submicron fiber development. With this software, automated measurements of hundreds of fibers and pores are possible.

Fibermetric is a turn-key system, which has been developed to assist in discovering and quantifying the properties of woven and nonwoven fiber samples, on timescales of just minutes.

Direct observation and measurement of microfibers and nanofibers using the Fibermetric software is fast, highly accurate, and simple to operate.

Key Benefits

The benefits of the Fibermetric are:

  • Automatically collection of hundreds of measurements per image
  • Generation of fiber and pore size distribution plots for quality control
  • Prediction of application properties such as filtration efficiency
  • No need for specially trained personnel or laboratory equipment
  • It has a sample loading time below 30s and its automated measurement capability generates statistically valid data in four minutes (about the time it takes a conventional SEM to load the sample).
  • Magnifications up to 100,000x produce accurate information on fibers as small as 100nm in diameter.
  • The Fibermetric software images and measures almost any fiber sample with its 4.9 nm/pixel resolution and edge fit function, which automatically finds and measures fibers and pores. Nanofibers with diameters of 100nm are routinely measured.

Steps for Using Fibermetric to Obtain Nanofiber Images Quickly

Filtration Fiber Measurement

While evaluating filtration fibers, data is needed to determine if the fibers are spread evenly. This uniformity is monitored in two ways:

  • Fibers must be consistently spread over a surface. They should not be very dense in one area or have large pores in another.
  • Fiber diameter must be within specific ranges to assure that particles are filtered efficiently.

In order to obtain images and data with Fibermetric, the following steps are taken:

  1. Define the project.

  2. Select the area of interest.

  3. Measure fibers and/or pore sizes. Manual: one click fiber; one click pore. Automatic: Region; complete image Automatic measurement on thin layer samples.

  4. Export/save data for graphing and analysis Project folder XML format for import to Excel, etc. Saved data includes: Fiber or pore, fiber diameter, fiber diameter standard deviation, fiber orientation, pore size.

Nanofiber Filters

The term "nanofiber" refers to fibers below 1µm in diameter. These nanofibers can be polyformed into a web around 1 or 2µm thick, and mounted on a range of substrates to reinforce their strength and enable large-scale manufacturing.

Nanofiber filter media are often preferred in high-performance filters for use in a wide variety of applications within the commercial, industrial, and defense industries, due to their finer structure.

Nanofiber filters show a significant improvement in filtration efficiency with just a slight decrease in permeability, which is a desired trait of high-performance filters. In order to build a superior nanofiber filter, the design must meet the needs of long life (durability), efficiency (ability to filter out contaminates as small as a few nanometers), and uniformity.

Comparing a Nanofiber Filter Image Made with the Phenom vs. a Light Microscope

Figure 5 shows that the depth of field of a light microscope is very limited. It is tough to see more than one layer at a time. No measurements can be made even though fine fibers can be seen above the support structure.

Figure 5. Optical image

Figure 6 shows an image taken using a Phenom SEM and Fibermetric, with a similar field of view as the optical image, but with a much higher depth of field. The higher resolution allows superior fiber measurements.

Figure 6. Fibermetric image at 4,000x

Figure 7 is well beyond the capability of a light microscope. For high-accuracy measurements, the Phenom can zoom to much higher magnification.

Figure 7. High-magnification SEM image

Value of the Fibermetric Software

The usefulness of the Fibermetric software is demonstrated by the Table below:

User Operation Goal User Operation Goal Value
SEM specialist time Performs 50 manual measurements from SEM image Obtain statistically accurate data Any lab personnel Selects "auto measure" Obtain statistically accurate data Reduce task by 50%
Light microscopist Struggles to get accurate measurements from image Obtain image for measurement Any lab personnel Takes an image within a few minutes Obtain image for measurement Higher quality images
Light microscopist Performs 50 measurements Obtain statistically accurate data Any lab personnel Selects "auto measure" Obtain statistically accurate data More accurate results

Conclusions

The efficiency and consistency of lab results is improved with Fibermetric. Lab personnel who have not been trained for using high-resolution SEMs will find Fibermetric as easy to use as a light microscope.

Fibermetric provides quick, automated results, and meaningful statistical data within minutes. Data can be used for quality assurance as well as documentation of Six-Sigma process improvement evaluation benchmarks.

Fibermetric enables more people to obtain the fiber images and get the data they need, when they need it. It speeds up workflow and improves the ability to make well-informed decisions based on accurate fiber analysis.

About Phenom-World

Phenom™, world’s fastest Desktop Scanning Electron Microscope takes your imaging performance to a higher level. The Phenom desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM) helps customers stay competitive in a world where critical dimensions are continuously getting smaller.

The Phenom desktop SEM combines superb imaging power up to 100,000x and outstanding technical performance with better depth of focus and chemical contrast. It is the smart, affordable and market’s fastest solution that enables engineers, technicians, researchers and educational professionals to investigate micron and submicron structures.

With the Phenom proX we offer integrated, powerful EDS microanalysis to complete the optical performance of our SEM-range. Any Phenom system can be tailored to suit application and sample needs by choosing one of the many Pro Suite-based software solutions or specially designed hardware accessories.

Phenom-World helps you to stay competitive in a world where critical dimensions are continuously getting smaller. The Phenom desktop SEM offers direct access to the high-resolution and high-quality imaging necessary in a large variety of applications. It is an affordable solution that enables engineers, technicians, researchers and educational professionals to visualize micron and submicron structures.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Phenom-World BV.

For more information on this source, please visit Phenom-World BV.

Date Added: Feb 21, 2014 | Updated: Mar 7, 2014
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