Investigation of Surface Morphology of Electrospun Fibers using XE-Series Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM)

Electrospinning techniques are capable of producing polymer fibers in the nanometer scale. Polymer blends offer the potential to prepare new materials for use in a variety of applications. The focus of this investigation has been primarily on the phase morphology of the fiber surface.

Topography information in Non-Contact AFM taken by XE-150 (50 µm scan size)

Figure 1. Topography information in Non-Contact AFM taken by XE-150 (50 µm scan size)

Description of Electrospun Fibers

A large-scan (50 µm × 50 µm) view of an e-spun fiber is shown in Figure 1. There were a few bead formations along the length of the fiber. Figure 2 (a) shows the TEM images of polybutadiene (PB) / polycarbonate (PC) blends with weight ratios of 75:25 after staining. The dark regions in the TEM images are identified as the PB phase and the light regions show the PC phase.

Investigation of Surface Morphology of Electrospun Fibers

An electro-spun fiber was scanned in Non-Contact AFM and the resulting image is shown in Figure 2 (b). The features on the fiber surface were examined using the high performance XE-series AFM.

Figure 2 (a)
(a) TEM image and (b) AFM topography (6x6µm) and profile for e-spun fiber.

 

Figure 2 (b)
(a) TEM image and (b) AFM topography (6x6µm) and profile for e-spun fiber.

Figure 2. (a) TEM image and (b) AFM topography (6x6µm) and profile for e-spun fiber.

Dynamic Force Microscopy (DFM) can remove the contribution from lateral frictional force. For this circular type of sample, e.g. fiber, DFM is helpful to avoid tip slippage on the sample surface. It produces three types of information: topography, amplitude, and phase, as shown in Figure 3. The phase image in this mode is created by the feedback received from angular shifts as compared with amplitude detection from the magnitude of the cantilever deflection.

Figure 3 (a)
(a) Topography, (b) Amplitude, and (c) Phase of Dynamic Force mode AFM (2 µm scan size).

 

Figure 3 (b)
(a) Topography, (b) Amplitude, and (c) Phase of Dynamic Force mode AFM (2 µm scan size).

 

Figure 3 (c)
(a) Topography, (b) Amplitude, and (c) Phase of Dynamic Force mode AFM (2 µm scan size).

Figure 3. (a) Topography, (b) Amplitude, and (c) Phase of Dynamic Force mode AFM (2 µm scan size).

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Park Systems Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit Park Systems Inc.

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