Looijmans, S. F. S. P.; Carmeli, E.; Puskar, L.; Ellis, G.; Cavallo, D.; Anderson, P.D.; Breemen, L.C. A. van: Polarization modulated infrared spectroscopy: A pragmatic tool for polymer science and engineering. Polymer Crystallization 3 (2020), p. e10138/1-9
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In the area of polymer crystallization, the most widely used techniques to quantify structure, morphology and molecular orientation are fundamentally based on light or X-ray scattering and absorption. In particular, synchrotron X-rays are used for detailed studies on the semicrystalline structure in polymeric materials. The technical requirements for such techniques, especially when high spatial resolution is essential, make the application of X-ray diffraction not straightforward. Direct information on the chain orientation in different semicrystalline morphologies requires rather com- plex sampling and analysis procedures. Surprisingly, a simple yet versatile technique based on infrared spectroscopy is hardly applied in the field of polymer crystalliza- tion. By modulating the polarization of the incident light, local anisotropy can be studied in real time on a submolecular length scale. In this article, we provide the rel- evant details of the polarization modulated infrared microspectroscopy technique for the study of semicrystalline materials from an engineering perspective. We demon- strate the essence of the method using as model systems spherulitic and trans- crystalline morphologies and present its applicability to polymer/fiber composite technology and the study of injection-molded parts. The results provided in the pre- sent work serve to illustrate the applicability of this informative technique in the field of semicrystalline polymer science.