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Issue 3, 2015
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Characterization of chain conformations in perfluorosulfonic acid membranes using electron energy loss spectroscopy

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Abstract

Chain conformations of the perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) ionomers: Nafion™ and Aquivion® were investigated with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) on a 200 kV transmission electron microscope (TEM) equipped with a monochromator. The results were compared with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) to evaluate the effect of the pendant perfluoroether side chains of the ionomers on the structure of the PTFE backbone. Several unique spectroscopic features corresponding to conformational changes were identified in the low-loss region and the fine structures of the carbon K-edge. Results obtained from high-level density function theory (DFT) based electronic structure calculations confirmed the conformational dependence of the EEL spectra of the PFSA ionomers. Comparison with the spectra obtained from the experiments revealed the correlation between the specific side chain chemistry and backbone conformation. This spectroscopic information will allow us to further explore the morphological properties of these materials when combining with additional imaging techniques.

Graphical abstract: Characterization of chain conformations in perfluorosulfonic acid membranes using electron energy loss spectroscopy

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
08 Sep 2014
Accepted
26 Nov 2014
First published
28 Nov 2014

RSC Adv., 2015,5, 2368-2373
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Characterization of chain conformations in perfluorosulfonic acid membranes using electron energy loss spectroscopy

C. Wang, G. Duscher and S. J. Paddison, RSC Adv., 2015, 5, 2368
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA10012C

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