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Issue 12, 2012
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A simple approach to characterizing block copolymer assemblies: graphene oxide supports for high contrast multi-technique imaging

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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.

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

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Article information


Submitted
25 Oct 2011
Accepted
08 Dec 2011
First published
12 Jan 2012

Soft Matter, 2012,8, 3322-3328
Article type
Paper

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, III, I. Portman, N. R. Wilson and R. K. O'Reilly, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 3322
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM07040E

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