A simple approach to characterizing block copolymer assemblies: graphene oxide supports for high contrast multi-technique imaging

J.P. Patterson, A.M. Sanchez, N. Petzetakis, T.P. Smart, T.H. Epps, I. Portman, N.R. Wilson, R.K. O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Block copolymers are well-known to self-assemble into a range of 3-dimensional morphologies. However, due to their nanoscale dimensions, resolving their exact structure can be a challenge. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a powerful technique for achieving this, but for polymeric assemblies chemical fixing/staining techniques are usually required to increase image contrast and protect specimens from electron beam damage. Graphene oxide (GO) is a robust, water-dispersable, and nearly electron transparent membrane: an ideal support for TEM. We show that when using GO supports no stains are required to acquire high contrast TEM images and that the specimens remain stable under the electron beam for long periods, allowing sample analysis by a range of electron microscopy techniques. GO supports are also used for further characterization of assemblies by atomic force microscopy. The simplicity of sample preparation and analysis, as well as the potential for significantly increased contrast background, make GO supports an attractive alternative for the analysis of block copolymer assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3322-3328
Number of pages7
JournalSoft Matter
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

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