The laterally resolved analysis of the chemical surface composition of surface-treated block copolymers by atomic force microscopy (AFM) pull-off force mapping in the force volume (FV) mode and the automated analysis of the FV data is discussed. Poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PtBA) microdomains residing in a polystyrene (PS) matrix at the surface of cyclohexane-treated polystyrene-block-poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PtBA-b-PS) block copolymer thin films were domain-selectively deprotected, activated and chemically modified, as also shown by fluorescence microscopy. AFM pull-off force mapping in conjunction with an automated analysis of the data provided real space evidence for the successful conversion of reactive esters located in the PtBA domains and showed that AFM and related approaches, such as chemical force microscopy (CFM), can indeed contribute to assess changes in heterogeneous surface chemical composition of polymers down to sub-50 nm length scales.
- chemical force microscopy (CFM)
- local chemical analysis
- Block copolymers
- Surface chemistry