AFM image of the week


This I present you an AFM topography image of a furan-based polymer thin film. The film was prepared by spin coating onto SiOx wafers and after preparation it was subjected to thermal annealing to promote crystallization. The AFM shows the development of needle-like crystals on the thin film surface. The features have lengths between 100 – 600 nm and widths (needle diameter) of about 60 nm. This work is part of our collaboration with Dr. Michelina Soccio at the Università di Bologna.

Fête de l’Iris 2016

The artwork by Jean Spièce, Simone Napolitano and myself was selected for the Expo of the ULB Faculty of Science, and exposed at the ULB center at the Fête de l’Iris 2016.  The poster, entitled “Let’s go curvy”, shows an AFM topography image of curvilinear PLLA nanocrystals. More info on this project can be found here.


The image of the week

This week I’m preseting an AFM topography image of BTBT-based crystals. These molecules are formed by a double benzilthiophene core, and have symmetric akyl chains to each side. After dissolution and deposition, the molecules were allowed to crystallized under a solvent atmosphere, using the so-called technique “Solvent Vapor Annealing”. The AFM image shows that the procedure allowed the formation of needle-shaped crystals, having lengths between 300 nm to 1 micron.


The image of the week

I’m starting this week with a SEM image of poly(methyl metacrylate) microspheres.

Starting from the commercial polymer, nanopsheres were prepared following the “Dialysis nanoprecipiation protocol”, where, using a dialysis membrane, a polymer solution goes through a careful precipitation process.

More on this technique can be found here and here.

Have the best possible week!!


The image of the week

Let me present you the AFM image of the ferroelectric copolymer P(VDF-TrFE). The image below shoes the surface topography of a P(VDF-TrFE) thin film. There, it is possible to observe needle like structures and flat areas, corresponding to two different crystalline organizations: edge-on and flat-on crystals, respectively. This names relate to the way the polymer chain organiz s with respect to the supporting substrate.


A poly(L-lactide) nanocrystal

The poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) is a biocompatible polymer widely studied because is hard. How hard? Well, hard enough to think of it as a possible bone replacement.

Recently, I was involved in a collaboration to study how PLLA crystallizes when confined into thin films: a bidimensional polymer layer, thin enough to be comparable to the size of a single PLLA crystal. An Atomic Force Microscopy image of the PLLA confined into this geometry is shown below. The shape of the crystal, resembling a tree leaf, is called a dendritic one, and it relates to the way the polymer chains arrange with respecto to the surface. In this case, this is a “flat-on” organization, which is the expected one for these ultrathin systems (more on the subject here).

The whole results on this work have been published in Soft Matter Journal, and can be accessed here (paywall).PLLA-a-006_1_001