Electron Tomography of Carbon Nanostructed Composites

T.F. Lam, B. Natarajan, J.P. Winterstein, N. Lachman, A.A. Herzing, P. Kabro, B. Wardle, R. Sharma, J.A. Liddle
National Institute of Standards and Technology, US

Keywords: nanotubes, carbon nanostructures, electron microscopy, tomography


The incorporation of carbon nanostructures (CNS) into a polymer matrix enables the development of hybrid materials that can be engineered with specific combinations of desirable properties – electrical, thermal, optical and mechanical, etc. This multifunctionality is dependent on the detailed arrangement – dispersion, clustering, networking, etc. – of the CNS within these composites. The characterization of CNS arrangement in these systems is required in order to understand structure-function relationships and thereby enhance specific bulk properties. Here we demonstrate the use of advanced electron microscopy techniques (energy-filtered Transmission Electron Microscopy, Tomography) for extracting high-resolution 3-dimensional microstructural information from two composite types: a) High volume fraction aligned carbon nanotube (CNT)-polymer composites b) Industrial fuzzy fiber composites.