Materials Characterization

  • Bradley D. Fahlman


Thus far, we have focused on the relationship between the structure of a material and its properties/applications. However, we have not yet focused on how one is able to determine the structure and composition of materials. That is, when a material is fabricated in the lab, how are we able to assess whether our method was successful? Depending on the nature of the material being investigated, a suite of techniques may be utilized to assess its structure and properties. Whereas some techniques are qualitative, such as providing an image of a surface, others yield quantitative information such as the relative concentrations of atoms that comprise the material. Recent technological advances have allowed materials scientists to accomplish something that was once thought to be impossible: to obtain actual two-dimensional/threedimensional images of atomic positions in a solid, in real time. It should be noted that the sensitivity of quantitiative techniques also continues to be improved, with techniques now being able to easily measure parts per trillion (ppt) concentrations of impurities in a bulk sample.


Scanning Tunneling Microscopy American Chemical Society Auger Electron Spectroscopy Sample Atom Scanning Auger Microscopy 
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References and Notes

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    An analogous (older) technique is known as differential thermal analysis (DTA), which yields the same information as DSC.Google Scholar
  111. 112.
  112. 113.
    Schematics (a) and (b) were obtained from the public domain from the website:
  113. 114.
    For a nice example that utilizes SAXS, WAXS, and SANS to determine the structural changes of polyethylene chains following annealing, see: Men, Y.; Rieger, J.; Lindner, P.; Enderle, H. -F.; Lilge, D.; Kristen, M. O.; Mihan, S.; Jiang, S. J. Phys. Chem. B 2005, 109, 16650.Google Scholar
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    For an example of a quantitative SAXS study of a block copolymer-solvent system see: Soni, S. S.; Brotons, G.; Bellour, M.; Narayanan, T.; Gibaud, A. J. Phys. Chem. B 2006, 110, 15157. An example of the use of SAXS to determine the particle size distribution of nanoparticles, see: Rieker, T.; Hanprasopwattana, A.; Datye, A.; Hubbard, P. Langmuir 1999, 15, 638.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. 1.
    Flegler, S. L.; Heckman, J. W.; Klomparens, K. L. Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy: An Introduction, W. H. Freeman: New York, 1993.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Williams, D. B.; Carter, C. B. Transmission Electron Microscopy: A Textbook for Materials Science, Plenum Press: New York, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Egerton, R. F. Physical Principles of Electron Microscopy: An Introduction to TEM, SEM, and AEM, Springer: New York, 1986.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Goldstein, J.; Newbury, D.; Joy, D.; Lyman, C.; Echlin, P.; Lifshin, E.; Sawyer, L.; Michael, J. Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis, 3rd ed., Kluwer: New York, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Encyclopedia of Materials Characterization - Surfaces, Interfaces, Thin Films, Brundle, C. R.; Evans, C. A.; Wilson, S. eds., Elsevier: New York, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Campbell, D.; Pethrick, P. A.; White, J. R. Polymer Characterization, 2nd ed., Stanley Thornes: Cheltenham, UK, 2000.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Criddle, W. J.; Ellis, G. P. Spectral and Chemical Characterization of Organic Compounds: A Lab- oratory Handbook, 3rd ed., Wiley: New York, 1990.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dinardo, N. J. Nanoscale Characterization of Surfaces and Interfaces, 2nd ed., Wiley: New York, 2004.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Surface Characterization: A User’s Sourcebook, Brune, D.; Hellborg, R.; Hunderi, O. eds., Wiley: New York, 1997.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Beam Effects, Surface Topography, and Depth Profiling in Surface Analysis (Methods of Surface Characterization), Czanderna, A. W.; Madey, T. E.; Powell, C. J. eds., Plenum Press: New York, 1998.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ion Spectroscopies for Surface Analysis (Methods of Surface Characterization), Czanderna, A. W.; Hercules, D. M. eds., Springer: New York, 1991.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brandon, D. D.; Kaplan, W. D. Microstructural Characterization of Materials, Wiley: New York, 1999.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pecharsky, V.; Zavalij, P. Fundamentals of Powder Diffraction and Structural Characterization of Materials, Springer: New York, 2005.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Concise Encyclopedia of Materials Characterization, 2nd ed., Cahn, R. ed., Elsevier: San Diego, CA, 2005.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Characterization of Polymers (Materials Characterization), Tong, H. -M.; Kowalczyk, S. P.; Saraf, R.; Chou, N. J. eds., Butterworth-Heinemann: New York, 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradley D. Fahlman
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

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