Atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Arkema Analytical Solutions offers state-of-the-art atomic force microscopy (AFM) capabilities. Imaging and identification of materials with the AFM is based on the interaction between a tip of nanometer dimensions and the sample. 

AFM is typically used for the measurement of size, distribution and dispersion of additives, phase morphology of composite blends, morphology of fibers, and surface roughness of coatings, with a lateral resolution of a few nanometers and a depth resolution of 0.1 nanometers. Local mechanical and electrical properties can be measured quantitatively.


Nanoidentation is performed using a wide array of tips to apply small loads on a few square micrometers or even nanometers. Measurements of the load as a function of penetration depth (load-displacement or force-distance curves) can be analyzed to extract material mechanical properties such as the elastic modulus, hardness and others, or to study viscoelastic or viscoplastic material responses.


Some applications of these techniques at Arkema Analytical Solutions include:

  • Correlation with material performance of local mechanical properties of individual nanometer- to micrometer-sized domains in blends or composites
  • Correlation of size, size distribution, and dispersion of additives with mechanical and optical performance parameters in composites and blends
  • Measurement of height and lateral dimensions of nanometer-sized objects
  • Quantification of surface roughness
  • Correlation of surface appearance and surface morphology
  • Measurement of work function of conductive samples
  • Visualization of components with different dielectric properties in polymer blends
  • Simultaneous imaging and characterization of mechanical behavior
  • Quantitative mechanical characterization of nano- and micro-domains in blends, composites, and block copolymers