Nano-Imaging of Polymers by Optical Microscopy

  • Shinzaburo ItoEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Aoki
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 182)


The developments of laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) and scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) have expanded the application range of optical microscopy from micron to nanometer dimensions, in which the molecular and macromolecular materials exhibit intrinsic fundamental characteristics closely related to their functionality. Although atomic force and electron microscopes have often been utilized for observing materials in nanometer dimensions, the world of the critical length (10–100 nm) of nano-technology and science is now illuminated by “light”, and is revealed as real optical images from different points of view associated with not only morphology but also spectroscopic, analytical, time-resolved and opto-electrical responses in a local space. This article reviews the recent findings made by LSCM and SNOM mainly in terms of morphology of polymeric materials; particular concerns are in the phase-separated structures of polymer blends, conformation and morphology of a single polymer chain, and also two-dimensional ultra-thin polymer films. These optical techniques will become an indispensable tool for understanding molecular and biological systems.

Scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) Laser scanning conforcal microscopy (LSCM) Fluorescence spectroscopy Single polymer chain Nano-structure 



atomic force microscopy


Brewster angle microscopy


beam splitter


deoxyribonucleic acid


deep ultraviolet




full width at half maximum


interpenetrating polymer network




laser scanning confocal microscopy


laser scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy


numerical aperture


optical microscopy








poly(isobutyl methacrylate)


poly(methyl methacrylate)


poly(octadecyl methacrylate)












spinodal decomposition


scanning electron microscopy


scanning near-field optical microscopy


stimulated emission depletion


single wall carbon nanotube


transmission electron microscopy


total internal reflection


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Polymer ChemistryGraduate School of EngineeringKyotoJapan

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