New Publication by AFSEM user Wood K Plus

The Austrian Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH is one of the leading research institutes in the area of wood and wood-related renewable resources in Europe. Its research covers a wide range of fields from the development of high-performance materials made from wood fibers and natural fibers to process technology along the complete value chain – from raw material to ”green composites“ to finished products. This requires top expertise comprising especially the microscopic and macroscopic characterization of wood and fiber structures as well as latest technologies for stability investigations at macro-, micro- and nanoscale.

These scientific challenges were the reason for Wood K plus to add AFSEM, the in-situ correlative AFM by Quantum Design to their research lab.
There AFSEM is combined with a Keyence VHX 5000 optical microscope. The complementary strengths of both instruments support the research team in gaining completely new insights to their current scientific work.

Following the installation, Wood K plus focused on AFSEM characterization of self-healing surfaces based on melamine resins. Thanks to the high resolution of the optical microscope, it was easy to position the cantilever tip precisely at the area of interest. The AFM was the method of choice to show melamine particles embedded in the polymer that is not visible in the topography. The phase signal AFSEM provides was used for detection of material contrast (see figure 1). The light regions can be interpreted as hard material like melamine particles embedded in ‘soft’ polymer.
Most recently, the research team of Wood K Plus used their AFSEM system to observe quality metrics such as surface stain and scuff resistance at the cross-section of wood-based materials. The obtained AFM data supported them in the further development of sample preparation techniques to better analyze the chemical and physical characteristics.
They published their research results in an article in the Journal of Microscopy, Volume 289, Issue 2, February 2023.

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