Solid-state microstructure of poly(L-lactide) and L-lactide/meso-lactide random copolymers by atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Mantana Kanchanasopa, Evangelos Manias, James Runt

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29 Scopus citations


Tapping mode atomic force microscopy was used to investigate the lamellar morphology of poly(L-lactide) and two poly(L-lactide-co-meso-lactide) random copolymers containing 3% and 6% meso-lactide. Samples were isothermally crystallized at selected temperatures, and qualitative and quantitative analyses of lamellar structure were performed using height and phase images. This is the first study of the morphology of polylactide stereocopolymers using a real-space probe, and the important effects of scanning parameters on the acquired images are described. More open spherulites with an abundance of screw dislocations between edge-on lamellar stacks were observed in samples crystallized at higher temperatures. Mean lamellar thicknesses are lower for the random copolymers compared to PLLA, particularly at lower ΔT, in agreement with the results of our previous small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments. Mean lamellar thicknesses derived from the current real-space examination are in good agreement with those determined previously from SAXS. Internal surfaces-from microtomed specimens-were also studied to investigate the bulk crystal morphology. Although quantitative analysis was not feasible (for reasons discussed in the text), lamellar organization similar to that seen in the surface experiments is observed at high magnifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1213
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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