It is known that at the nanoscale, composition and interface structure play important roles in determining the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of multiphase nanomaterials and nanocomposites. To probe the thermal properties of these heterogeneous nanomaterials, local thermal analysis with nanometer resolution is needed. To this end, we are advancing nano-thermomechanometry by exploiting a scanned probe microscopy heating tip method based on batch-processed silicon tips.
Complementing this spatially resolved qualitative technique, we are leveraging recent advances in chip nanocalorimetry to measure both the complex specific heat capacity and thermal transitions in films with thicknesses down to 5 nm. We are focused on advancing this technology to enable quantitative and systematic studies related to the effect of nanoscale confinement and the presence of dissimilar interfaces on the calorimetric glass transition temperature, mesomorphic transitions, and crystallization and melting behavior of polymeric and hybrid materials.