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Multiscale dispersion-state characterization of nanocomposites using optical coherence tomography

: Schneider, S.; Eppler, F.; Weber, M.; Olowojoba, G.; Weiss, P.; Hübner, C.; Mikonsaari, I.; Freude, W.; Koos, C.

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Scientific Reports 6 (2016)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ICT ()

Nanocomposite materials represent a success story of nanotechnology. However, development of nanomaterial fabrication still suffers from the lack of adequate analysis tools. In particular, achieving and maintaining well-dispersed particle distributions is a key challenge, both in material development and industrial production. Conventional methods like optical or electron microscopy need laborious, costly sample preparation and do not permit fast extraction of nanoscale structural information from statistically relevant sample volumes. Here we show that optical coherence tomography (OCT) represents a versatile tool for nanomaterial characterization, both in a laboratory and in a production environment. The technique does not require sample preparation and is applicable to a wide range of solid and liquid material systems. Large particle agglomerates can be directly found by OCT imaging, whereas dispersed nanoparticles are detected by model-based analysis of depth-dependent backscattering.