Three-dimensional observation of the separated structures of polymer blends

The X-ray phase imaging can be applied not only to biological objects, but also to the soft matters as well. We are applying the Bonse-Hart-type X-ray interferometer and X-ray Talbot interferometer to the three-dimensional observation of the phase-separated structures of polymer blends (Fig. 1), and aiming to contribute to the plastic materials science. The plastic materials are generally composed of several kinds of polymer blended together. which often exhibits a new feature. The polymers do not really mix up completely, and they cause the phase separations among the different kinds of polymer, changing its dynamical properties. To know what's happening inside, we need to SEE the three-dimensional structure of polymer blends, and that is exactly what we're trying to do.

Fig. 1: the phase separation structure of the a polymer blend (polystyrene and PMMA). In Fig.(b), the PS-rich part is being transparent.