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Fluorescence microscopy as an alternative to electron microscopy for microscale dispersion evaluation of organic-inorganic composites.

Nature communications (2016-06-03)
Weijiang Guan, Si Wang, Chao Lu, Ben Zhong Tang
ABSTRACT

Inorganic dispersion is of great importance for actual implementation of advanced properties of organic-inorganic composites. Currently, electron microscopy is the most conventional approach for observing dispersion of inorganic fillers from ultrathin sections of organic-inorganic composites at the nanoscale by professional technicians. However, direct visualization of macrodispersion of inorganic fillers in organic-inorganic composites using high-contrast fluorescent imaging method is hampered. Here we design and synthesize a unique fluorescent surfactant, which combines the properties of the aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and amphiphilicity, to image macrodispersion of montmorillonite and layered double hydroxide fillers in polymer matrix. The proposed fluorescence imaging provides a number of important advantages over electron microscope imaging, and opens a new avenue in the development of direct three-dimensional observation of inorganic filler macrodispersion in organic-inorganic composites.

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1,4-Dibromobutane, 99%