Applications of state-of-the-art atomic force microscopy methods to the elucidation of the surface and near-surface structure of polymeric solids are described. Contact, tapping, force modulation, frictional force, and other modes of atomic force microscopy are described, and recent results are summarized. Conformational and chain order, crystalline order, polymer crystals, lamellar structures, lamellar surfaces, fold surfaces, and fibers and films with highly oriented molecules all yield important information. Controlled deformation of polymer surfaces, both reversible and irreversible, with the atomic force microscope, provides a wealth of information about mechanical properties on a nanometer scale. The observation of phase-separated regions and of polymer crystals lying below a smooth surface shows that not only topography but also elastic inhomogeneity can be observed in great detail with the atomic force microscope. This is a rapidly developing field, and some indications of future developments are presented.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error