Frontiers of Chemistry in China

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 174–177 | Cite as

AFM-tip-induced crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide) melt droplets

  • Zhu Dunshen 
  • Shou Xingxian 
  • Liu Yixin 
  • Chen Erqiang Email author
  • Stephen Zhengdi Cheng
Research Article


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 (M n) 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 M n ⩾ 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.


atomic force microscopy poly(ethylene oxide) tip-induced crystallization nanoindentation 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhu Dunshen 
    • 1
  • Shou Xingxian 
    • 1
  • Liu Yixin 
    • 1
  • Chen Erqiang 
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen Zhengdi Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Polymer and Engineering, Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Molecular EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Maurice Morton Institute and Department of Polymer ScienceUniversity of AkronAkronUSA

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