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Issue 14, 2013
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A new approach to high resolution, high contrast electron microscopy of macromolecular block copolymer assemblies

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Abstract

Determining the structure of macromolecular samples is vital for understanding and adapting their function. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is widely used to achieve this, but, owing to the weak electron scattering cross-section of carbon, TEM images of macromolecular samples are generally low contrast and low resolution. Here we implement a fast and practically simple routine to achieve high-contrast imaging of macromolecular samples using exit wave reconstruction (EWR), revealing a new level of structural detail. This is only possible using ultra-low contrast supports such as the graphene oxide (GO) used here and as such represents a novel application of these substrates. We apply EWR on GO membranes to study self-assembled block copolymer structures, distinguishing not only the general morphology or nanostructure, but also evidence for the substructure (i.e. the polymer chains) which gives insight into their formation mechanisms and functional properties.

Graphical abstract: A new approach to high resolution, high contrast electron microscopy of macromolecular block copolymer assemblies

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
04 Dec 2012
Accepted
11 Feb 2013
First published
20 Feb 2013

This article is Open Access

Soft Matter, 2013,9, 3741-3749
Article type
Paper

A new approach to high resolution, high contrast electron microscopy of macromolecular block copolymer assemblies

M. A. Dyson, A. M. Sanchez, J. P. Patterson, R. K. O'Reilly, J. Sloan and N. R. Wilson, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 3741 DOI: 10.1039/C3SM27787A

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