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Atomic Force Microscopy of Polymer/Layered Silicate Nanocomposites (PLSNs): A Brief Overview



Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used frequently in polymer research in particular for imaging topography and phase morphology of multi-component systems. In this work, we review the application of different techniques of the AFM for the structural characterization of polymer layered silicate nanocomposites (PLSNs) with various classes of polymers (such as glassy and semicrystalline polymers, thermosetting resins etc.) as matrix. We demonstrate that AFM can be conveniently used to image not only the morphology of the composites materials with nanometer resolution but also to gain insight into their nanomechanical properties.