“Secondary electron spectra of semi-crystalline polymers – A novel polymer characterisation tool?”

Maurizio Dapor, Robert C. Masters, Ian Ross, David G. Lidzey, Andrew Pearson, Isabel Abril, Rafael Garcia-Molina, Jo Sharp, Marek Unčovský, Tomas Vystavel, Filip Mika, Cornelia Rodenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The nano-scale dispersion of ordered/disordered phases in semi-crystalline polymers can strongly influence their performance e.g. in terms of mechanical properties and/or electronic properties. However, to reveal the latter in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) often requires invasive sample preparation (etching of amorphous phase), because SEM usually exploits topographical contrast or yield differences between different materials. However, for pure carbon materials the secondary spectra were shown to differ substantially with increased order/disorder. The aims here is to gain an understanding of the shape of secondary electron spectrum (SES) of a widely used semi-crystalline polymer regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl), commonly known as P3HT, and its links to the underlying secondary electron emission mechanisms so SES can be exploited for the mapping the nano-morphology. The comparison of simulated and experimental SES shows an excellent agreement, revealing a peak (at about 0.8 eV) followed by a broad shoulder (between 2 eV and 4.5 eV) with respective relative intensities reflecting order/disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena
Early online date19 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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