Get access

Laser scanning confocal microscopy versus scanning electron microscopy for characterization of polymer morphology: Sample preparation drastically distorts morphologies of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate)-based hydrogels

Authors

  • Stefan M. Paterson,

    1. School of Chemistry and Biochemistry M313, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ylenia S. Casadio,

    1. School of Chemistry and Biochemistry M313, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • David H. Brown,

    1. School of Chemistry and Biochemistry M313, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia
    2. Nanochemistry Research Institute, Department of Chemistry, Curtin University of Technology, Kent St, Bentley, W.A. 6102, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jeremy A. Shaw,

    1. Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Traian V. Chirila,

    1. Queensland Eye Institute, 41 Annerley Road, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, Australia
    2. Faculty of Science and Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia
    3. Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
    4. Faculty of Health Science, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland 4006, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Murray V. Baker

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Chemistry and Biochemistry M313, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia
    2. Queensland Eye Institute, 41 Annerley Road, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, Australia
    • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry M313, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, W.A. 6009, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The internal morphologies for a series of heterogeneous PHEMA and P[HEMA-co-MeO-PEGMA] [PHEMA = poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), MeO-PEGMA = poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate] hydrogels were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in conjunction with a sample drying procedure, and by laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) without prior drying. Compared to SEM, LSCM was far simpler and more rapid technique for imaging hydrogels. LSCM also allowed the native hydrated morphology of the hydrogels to be characterized, whereas SEM could only characterize the morphology of samples in their dehydrated state. No dehydration method used in this study preserved the true native morphology, but plunge freezing/freeze drying was the most suitable method that best preserved the native morphology for all hydrogel compositions. Refrigerated freezing/freeze-drying and critical point drying introduced significant morphological artifacts, the severity of the artifacts being dependant on the sample's composition and Tg. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

Ancillary