Advanced Materials

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Macromolecular Characterization


Integral to the development of Advanced Materials is the capability to fully characterize new materials to build understanding of structure/property relationships. At ORNL, we have world-class macromolecular characterization capabilities that complement our expertise in polymer and composite synthesis. These characterization techniques enable our understanding of material properties from the nanoscale to the macroscale.  

Our state-of-the-art characterization capabilities include techniques for absolute molecular weight characterizationa: size exclusion chromatography (SEC), temperature gradient interaction chromatography (TGIC), vapor phase and membrane osmometry, and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). A number of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) probes are also available for compositional and dynamics studies in both solution and solid state. The dynamics of polymeric materials can also be probed over an extremely wide time, frequency, temperature and pressure range using neutron scattering, light scattering, dielectric spectroscopy, and rheology.  Optical and spectroscopic properties of polymers and composites can be explored by UV-visible-NIR, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. The Macromolecular Characterization capabilities also include methods for thin film characterization, including ellipsometry, contact angle goniometry and quartz crystal microbalance. Morphology characterization of thin films is enabled by our expertise in neutron scattering, X-ray scattering, optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Mechanical and thermal properties can be assessed with dynamic mechanical analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, and differential scanning calorimetry.

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