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

Topics Covered

About Park Systems
Description of Electrospun Fibers
Investigation of Surface Morphology of Electrospun Fibers

About Park Systems

Park Systems is the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) technology leader, providing products that address the requirements of all research and industrial nanoscale applications. With a unique scanner design that allows for the True Non-Contact imaging in liquid and air environments, all systems are fully compatible with a lengthy list of innovative and powerful options. All systems are designed with ease-of-use, accuracy and durability in mind, and provide your customers with the ultimate resources for meetiong all present and future needs.

Boasting the longest history in the AFM industry, Park Systems' comprehensive portfolio of products, software, services and expertise is matched only by our commitment to our customers.


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.

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)


Figure 2 (b)

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)


Figure 3 (b)


Figure 3 (c)

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

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