Preparation of Combinatorial Arrays of Polymer Thin Films for Transmission Electron Microscopy Analysis
Kristen Roskov, Thomas Epps, Brian Berry, Michael J. Fasolka, Steven D. Hudson, Maeva S. Tureau
We present a new method for harvesting multiple thin film specimens from polymer combinatorial libraries for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis. Such methods are of interest to researchers who wish to integrate TEM measurements into a combinatorial or high-throughput experimental workflow. Our technique employs poly(acrylic acid) plugs, sequestered in an elastomer gasket, to extract a series of film patches from gradient combinatorial libraries. A strategy for simultaneous deposition of the array of film specimens onto TEM grids also is described. We demonstrate our technique using nanostructured polymer thin film libraries as test cases in which the nanoscale details can be successfully imaged. Microscopy of test case specimens demonstrates that these samples are of sufficient quality for morphology screening via TEM, and in some cases are sufficient for more detailed morphological studies.