The latest publication to apply nano-TA has just been released by a research group from Michigan State University to study the relationship between the structure and properties of nanobiocomposites.
For many years, researchers in the polymer technology have used thermal analysis measurements to characterize bulk material properties. More recently, it has been shown that making localized thermal measurements on much smaller size scales reveals a lot more about how materials will behave in real-world use.
Dana Miloaga, a research assistant in MSU's Composite Materials & Structures Center and her colleagues have reported how nano-TA was able to detect polymer re-organization phenomena on sample surfaces which was not evident when using the more traditional technique of differential scanning calorimetry, DSC.
This is likely to be directly related to the ability to heat the surface at rates of 600?C/min using nano-TA while DSC studies were made at 3?C/min. The most significant observation in the study of various polymers showed bimodal crystallization behavior in poly (L-lactic acid), PLA, where nano-TA was able to repeatedly show the cold crystallization process.
Nano-TA was first available in 2006 enabling users of scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) to combine visualization with localized thermal analysis studies. With specially fabricated silicon probes, the system is able to rapidly heat very small areas of the sample surface and monitor physical changes by the deflection of the probe as a function of change in temperature. This produces the accurate measurement of thermal events such as the glass transition or the melting point of materials at a spatial resolution of less than 100nm.