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Imaging dielectric relaxation in nanostructured polymers by frequency modulation electrostatic force microscopy

Abstract : We have developed a method for imaging the temperature-frequency dependence of the dynamics of nanostructured polymer films with spatial resolution. This method provides images with dielectric compositional contrast well decoupled from topography. Using frequency-modulation electrostatic-force-microscopy, we probe the local frequency-dependent (0.1-100 Hz) dielectric response through measurement of the amplitude and phase of the force gradient in response to an oscillating applied electric field. When the phase is imaged at fixed frequency, it reveals the spatial variation in dielectric losses, i.e., the spatial variation in molecular/dipolar dynamics, with 40 nm lateral resolution. This is demonstrated by using as a model system; a phase separated polystyrene/polyvinyl-acetate (PVAc) blend. We show that nanoscale dynamic domains of PVAc are clearly identifiable in phase images as those which light-up in a band of temperature, reflecting the variations in the molecular/dipolar dynamics approaching the glass transition temperature of PVAc.
Mots-clés : Nanodielectrique
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Clément Riedel, R. Sweeney, N. E. Israeloff, Richard Arinero, Gustavo Ariel Schwartz, et al.. Imaging dielectric relaxation in nanostructured polymers by frequency modulation electrostatic force microscopy. Applied Physics Letters, American Institute of Physics, 2010, vol. 96, ⟨10.1063/1.3431288⟩. ⟨hal-00909650⟩

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