Date: 22 Sep 2005

Direct Observation of the Growth of Lamellae and Spherulites by AFM

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Abstract

This article describes some of the progress made in the understanding of the growth of polymer lamellae and spherulites using atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the last five years. High-resolution and real-time AFM phase imaging enables us to observe the detailed growth process of lamellae. During the early stage of crystallization, embryos appear and disappear on the film surface. A stable embryo develops into a single lamella, which develops into a founding lamella. Then, the founding lamella develops into a lamellar sheaf through branching and splaying. Through further branching and splaying, a lamellar sheaf develops into a spherulite with two eyes at its center.