Advances in the Raman Depth Profiling of Polymer Laminates

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The use of Raman microspectroscopy to depth profile multi-layered polymer laminates is becoming increasingly popular. However, the results are generally degraded by aberrations introduced by the change in refractive index at the air/sample interface. Recent research has suggested that the use of an immersion oil and suitable objective can reduce this effect. This study evaluates this proposal by comparing depth profiling results on a multi-layer poly(styrene)/poly(methylmethacrylate) (PS/PMMA) laminate polymer from both dry metallurgical objectives and immersion objectives (used in combination with an oil of suitable refractive index). The immersion technique enabled successful depth profiling to the full working distance of the objective (100 μm), showing clear and distinct variations in 11 different layers within the laminate; a dry metallurgical objective used for comparison achieved poor resolution of only two layers. This is the first demonstration of depth profiling within a polymer laminate to this depth. The depth profiling results are compared to results obtained by sectioning the PS/PMMA sample after setting it in resin.
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