Reading, Michael; Price, Duncan M.; Grandy, David B.; Smith, Roger M.; Bozec, Laurent; Conroy, Michael; Hammiche, Azzedine; Pollock, Hubert M.; Micro-Thermal Analysis of Polymers: Current Capabilities and Future Prospects. Macromolecular Symposia 167 (2001) 45-62

The current state of development of micro-thermal analysis (micro-TA) and related techniques are briefly reviewed. Results for a PET/epoxy resin composite and a bilayer polymer film are given as illustrations. Details are given of a new interface that enables the micro-TA unit to be placed inside a conventional FTIR spectrometer to carry out photothermal IR microscopy. New results are presented for a micro-pyrolysis-mass spectroscopy technique. The limitations of the current instrumentation are discussed in terms of the overriding problem being one of spatial resolution. Images obtained using pulsed force mode AFM with a high-resolution heated tip indicate the scope for future development of this technique. The possibility of even higher spatial resolution with other forms of probe are discussed along with the potential for imaging micro-pyrolysis time of flight mass spectroscopy and even tomography. It is concluded that these methods offer excellent prospects for characterising a wide range of polymer systems.

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