Recently, sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy has been developed into a powerful technique to study surfaces of polymer materials. This review summarizes the significant achievements in understanding surface molecular chemical structures of polymer materials obtained by SFG. It reviews in situ detection at the molecular level of surface structures of some common polymers in air, surface segregation of small end groups, polymer surface restructuring in water, and step-wise changed polymer blend surfaces. Studies of surface glass transition and surface structures modified by rubbing, plasma deposition, UV light irradiation, oxygen ion and radical irradiation, and wet etching are also discussed. SFG probing of polymer surfaces provides valuable insights into the relations between polymer surface structures and surface properties, which will assist in the design of polymer materials with desired surface properties.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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