Emerging technologies for the 3D analysis of polymer structures

Hiroshi Jinnai, Yukihiro Nishikawa, Takayuki Ikehara, Toshio Nishi

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83 Citations (Scopus)


This review covers recent progress of studies using new methods for analyzing polymer structures, with emphasis on three-dimensional (3D) microscopy, e.g., laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) and transmission electron microtomography (TEMT). These methods have been applied to morphological studies of structures in polymer alloys over the past few years. We review some of the studies dealing with 3D structures of binary polymer blends and block copolymers that are self-assembled during the phase separation processes and/or phase transition. Typical sizes of such self-assembled structures are of the order of micro- and nanometers, respectively. A great deal of new structural information, which has never been obtained from conventional microscopy or various scattering methods, can be evaluated directly from the 3D volume data. The structural information obtained from 3D microscopy offers essential insight into the physics of nonlinear, nonequilibrium phenomena and the statistical mechanics of long-chain molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-167
Number of pages53
JournalAdvances in Polymer Science
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • 3D digital image analysis
  • 3D microscopy
  • Bicontinuous structures
  • Polymer alloy


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