AFM-tip-induced crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide) melt droplets
The AFM-tip-induced crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) melt droplets was studied. The melt droplets with a height of 50–100 nm and a lateral size of 2–3 μm were obtained by melting the PEO ultra-thin films on a mica surface. For the PEO samples with average molecular weights (Mn) ranging from 1.0 × 103 g/mol to 1.0 × 104 g/mol, the lateral perturbation from the AFM tip in the hard-tapping or nanoscratch modes could not induce the growth of the flat-on lamellae. In contrast, under AFM nanoindentation mode, the tip-induced crystallization occurred when a sufficiently high vertical tip force was applied to the melt droplets of PEO with Mn ⩾ 1.0 × 104 g/mol. Moreover, the experimental results indicated that the AFM-tip-induced crystallization of PEO in the nanoindentation process had molecular weight dependence.
Keywordsatomic force microscopy poly(ethylene oxide) tip-induced crystallization nanoindentation
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