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Exploring Nanoscale Organization of Normal Alkanes on HOPG Substrate with DriveAFM

Normal alkanes: C60H122; C122H246, C242H486 and C390H782

This application note presents an in-depth study of normal alkanes using DriveAFM. It focuses on the lamellar structures and crystallization behaviors of these alkanes, particularly when chain lengths exceed 120 units, leading to chain folding—a key aspect of polymer crystallization. The study utilizes highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) as a substrate to observe the lamellar 2D organization of alkanes. The application note demonstrates how different alkanes form ordered structures on HOPG and how their molecular orientation and lamellar width vary. The AFM images at room temperature reveal intricate details about the lamellar edges formed by -CH3 end groups and the overall topography of these lamellar sheets. The note also explores the behavior of these alkanes at temperatures above their melting points and provides insights into the nanoscale features of alkane crystallization.

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Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the Structural Organization of Normal Alkanes: Learn about the lamellar structures and crystallization of normal alkanes on HOPG substrates.

  2. Explore Chain Folding in Alkanes: Gain insights into the phenomenon of chain folding in ultra-long alkanes and its significance in polymer crystallization.

  3. Analyze Lamellar Structures Using DriveAFM: Develop skills in using DriveAFM to visualize and interpret the lamellar organization of alkanes on HOPG.

  4. Study the Effects of Temperature on Alkane Crystallization: Understand how the lamellar ordering of alkanes is preserved at temperatures higher than their melting points.

  5. Investigate Nanoscale Features of Alkane Layers: Learn to identify and analyze the nanoscale structural features of alkane layers, including the role of -CH3 and -CH2 groups in forming lamellar edges.

  6. Apply AFM Imaging Techniques in Polymer Research: Recognize the application of AFM in studying the detailed morphology of polymers and related compounds.