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Studies of plasma-facing materials and macromolecules using scanning probe microscopy
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Material Science.
1995 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main topic of this thesis is experimental analysis of material surfaces using scanning probe microscopies. These microscopes are used for characterization through high-resolution topographical imaging, but also for controlled modification of surfaces and molecules. The surface characterization includes evaluation and development of fractal methods for surface roughness determination. The term modification is used for manipulating the structures on a microscale by scraping them with a tiny tip. The major application of this technique in the present work is the analysis of effects induced by plasma-surface interactions. Such studies are fundamental in the understanding of erosion and deposition processes on the first wall in controlled fusion devices. In this work, scanning probe microscopes were for the first time used for studying such plasma-facing materials. Both the surface structure and composition have to be known in order to evaluate new wall-materials for fusion reactors. The materials studied here are graphites, SiC/Al coatings, graphite-silicon mixtures and various silicon carbide based composites. They were all exposed to plasmas, either to lowenergy deuterium plasmas and ions in laboratory experiments, or to the plasma in a socalled tokamak. The results show the usefulness of these high-resolution microscopes in the study of plasma-surface interaction. Several other surface sensitive techniques were also applied, at the home laboratories of our collaborators, the most important ones being Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy and nuclear reaction analysis. The scanning probe microscopy in combination with the ion-beam analysis made it possible to trace fine structural features on the surfaces and to measure the surface roughness. The main results are: (i) the detection of the initial stages of bubble/blister formation on CSi mixtures, SiC/AI coatings and graphites; (ii) the morphological changes and the physical properties of the silicon carbide composites; (iii) the distinction of radiation damages on different phases of multicomponent composites; (iv) the estimation of layer thickness with scanning probe microscopy; (v) the determination of the structure of codeposited layers formed during exposure in a tokamak; (vi) the uptake of deuterium by the materials. The atomic force microscope has also been used to study the human protein spectrin, and we managed to image free spectrins with molecular resolution in an almost natural environment. The elongated spectrin macromolecule was found to be 100 rim long and 5 nm broad. Indications of a substructure were observed. The force between the sensor tip and the molecules was crucial, both for sample movement, manipulation and image resolution. Therefore, the instrument was rebuilt to operate with so called tapping-mode in liquid. Preliminary results with this method on spectrin are presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 1995. , 61 p.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technologyy… → 31 dec 1996, ISSN 0348-8373 ; 183
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-16824Local ID: 0316d0c0-e76d-11db-8a98-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:989811
Godkänd; 1995; 20070410 (ysko)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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