AFM Applications to the Analysis of Plasma-Treated Surface Growth and Nanocomposite Materials

Author(s): G.S. Senesi, A. Massaro

Journal Name: Current Nanoscience

Volume 12 , Issue 2 , 2016

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Background: The atomic force microscope (AFM) technique has proven to be a useful and versatile tool for the surface characterization of various materials. AFM is capable of providing three dimensional representations of surfaces down to the sub-nanometer scale resolution, with even atomic resolution. The aims of this mini review are to briefly illustrate our personal experience in AFM application for characterizing plasma-treated surface growth on different substrates, such as fluorocarbon (CFx) nano-structured films, polyethylene oxide (PEO) substrates and plasma deposited acrilic acid (pdAA) coatings, and nanocomposite materials, such as polydimethylsiloxane-gold (PDMS-Au) and chitosan-Au (CTO-Au), including the characterization of nanoparticle powder.

Methods: The CFx films were obtained by plasma enhanced-chemical vapor deposition in the non-contact AFM mode and pdAA coatings by radiofrequency glow discharges fed with AA vapors and analyzed in the contact AFM mode. Coating morphology was analized by X-Ray photoelectron microscopy (XPS) and water contact angle (WCA). The AFM images of PDMS-Au and CTO-Au nanocomposites was also acquired and analyzed for their topography.

Results: The surface topography, the root-mean square (RMS) surface roughness and the mean surface height of CFx coatings plasma-polymerised on polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) substrates were evaluated by AFM as a function of the deposition time, and AFM images obtained were used to gain detailed topographical information of the single nanostructure. By comparing the AFM images of pure PDMS with those of PDMS-Au it was possible to observe the topography of nanofillers embedded in a polymeric matrix or generated on a polymeric surface and also other main differences between the two materials.

Conclusion: The AFM technique was shown to be a versatile and promising tool for the morphological characterization of growth of plasma-treated surfaces, such as CFx nano-structured films, PEO substrates and pdAA coatings, and for the topographical characterization of nanocomposite materials such as PDMs-Au and CTO-Au. Finally, AFM can be used as a simple method able to characterize the topography of as-received nanofillers, based on the attachment of the nanopowders on a bi-adhesive tape and on 3D image processing.

Keywords: AFM, CFx nano-structured films, nanocomposite materials, nanofillers topography, plasma deposited acrylic acid coatings.

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Article Details

Year: 2016
Published on: 28 September, 2015
Page: [202 - 206]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/1573413711666150928194029
Price: $65

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