Abstract / Description of output
The morphological characterization of polymer nanocomposites over multiple length scales is a fundamental challenge. Here, we report a technique for high-throughput monitoring of interface and dispersion in polymer nanocomposites based on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC), fluorescently labeled with 5-(4,6-dichlorotriazinyl)- aminofluorescein (FL) and dispersed into polyethylene (PE) doped with Coumarin 30 (C30), is used as a model system to assess the ability of FRET to evaluate the effect of processing on NFC dispersion in PE. The level of energy transfer and its standard deviation, measured by fluorescence spectroscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), are exploited to monitor the extent of interface formation and composite homogeneity, respectively. FRET algorithms are used to generate color-coded images for a real-space observation of energy transfer efficiency. These images reveal interface formation at a nanoscale while probing a macroscale area that is large enough to be representative of the entire sample. The unique ability of this technique to simultaneously provide orientation/spatial information at a macroscale and nanoscale features, encoded in the FRET signal, provides a new powerful tool for structure-property- processing investigation in polymer nanocomposites.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- confocal microscopy