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Home  >  Journal list  >  Polymer Journal  >  Vol.45  No.1 (2013)  >  pp.34-42

Polymer Journal
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Grazing incidence small-angle neutron scattering: challenges and possibilities

Peter Müller-Buschbaum1
1Physik-Department, Lehrstuhl für Funktionelle Materialien, Technische Universität München, Garching, Germany

The enhancement of surface sensitivity by grazing incidence geometry facilitates the investigation of nanostructures in thin films and at surfaces. The technique provides information about the surface roughness, lateral correlations, sizes and shapes of objects (such as, nanoparticles and nanostructures) positioned on top of the surface or in a region near the surface. Grazing incidence small-angle neutron scattering (GISANS) overcomes the limitations of conventional small-angle neutron scattering for extremely small sample volumes in the thin-film geometry. Although real space analysis techniques, such as atomic force microscopy, provide easy access to surface structures, reciprocal space analysis techniques, such as GISANS, provide several advantages: (i) average statistical information over the large illuminated sample surface can be detected and (ii) buried lateral structures can be probed without damage, using the variable-probed depth as a function of the incident angle. To illustrate the potential applications and challenges of GISANS, several different examples of thin nanostructured polymer films are reviewed. Nanostructures in triblock copolymer thin films are studied in the bulk as well as at the polymer-air and the silicon–polymer interface. Confined nanostructures in a dewetted diblock copolymer film are also discussed in terms of contrast and experimental settings.

block copolymer; dewetting; GISANS; polymer nanostructure; thin film

Received: July 30, 2012 , Revised: September 07, 2012
Accepted: September 10, 2012 , Published online: November 14, 2012
© 2013 The Society of Polymer Science, Japan

NatureAbstract (Nature)


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