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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 27, Number 4, Page 348 (1983)
Image Processing/Pattern Recognition/Commu...
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Electron Microscopy of Carbon-Loaded Polymers

by V. E. Hanchett, R. H. Geiss
It is very difficult to fully characterize the spatial distribution of particles in carbon-loaded polymers using traditional methods. One approach has been to cross-section the polymers, using ultramicrotomy techniques, to a thickness of 80–100 nm. These sections are then examined in a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Unfortunately, the information on particle dispersion obtained from such images is essentially two-dimensional in nature, and therefore does not lend itself easily to a three-dimensional interpretation. By increasing the thickness of the cross sections to 0.5 μm or more, one is able to utilize stereoscopic imaging techniques and obtain a three-dimensional image of the carbon particle dispersion. In this way, the characteristic dispersion of the carbon particles may be fully evaluated along a particular direction in the polymer film. Examples are given of the three-dimensional analyses of polymer films containing different carbon-particle loadings.
Related Subjects: Chemistry and chemical engineering; Electron microscopy; Polymers