Reading, Michael; Pollock, Hubert; Hammiche, Azzedine; Price, Duncan M.; Advances in material characterization through imaging and analysis on a sub-micron scale. Proc. 26th North American Thermal Analysis Society Conference, September 13-15 (1998) Cleveland, Ohio, USA, p. 122

As the sophistication of materials, processing conditions and applications increase so does the need to understand the unerlying properties of materials throughout the lifecycle of design, manufacture and end use. Much of the macroscopic properties are attributable to microscopic properties including the degree of blending, adhesion, impurities, and gradients in distribution or physical states of one or more components.

A new field of characterization was introduced at the NATAS/ICTAC meeting in 1996 with further elaboration of preliminary data shown at NATAS 1997. In this field, the visualization power of atomic force microscopy (AFM) is combined with spatially resolved characterization by local thermal analysis on areas smaller than one square micron. Calorimetric Analysis with Scanning Microscopy (CASM) uses an ultraminiature thermal probe to measure both the a.c. and d.c. differential temperature response of a selected microscopic portion of the sample to local heating and cooling ramps. Mechanothermal Analysis with Scanning Microscopy (MASM) simultaneously uses the vertical position of the probe to monitor expansion, contraction and softening points of the same microscopic portion of the sample. The results are analogous to bulk DTA and TMA measurements but the properties are indicative of individually selected, spatially resolved chemical or physical components within the bulk sample.

This paper demonstrates some of the capabilities of CASM, MASM and further advances in this new field.