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Neutron Reflectometry Surface Force Apparatus 'NELLIE'

Juliet Cox

Juliet Cox (previous student, left the group in 1997)

This apparatus allows the use of neutron reflectometry to study the effect of compression on two parallel polymer layers. These experiments will give both the structure of the compressed polymer layer and information on the forces between the two polymer layers.

Nelli Apparatus
Nelli Apparatus

Present work

The effect of compression on the conformation of grafted polystyrene (PS) layers is being studied. Layers of protonated and deuterated PS have been grafted onto silicon substrates. AFM and X-ray reflection measurements will be used to characterise these layers. In a neutron reflection experiment in July 1996 the effect of compression on the solvated layers will be studied. By exploiting the different neutron scattering length densities of hydrogen and deuterium we will be able to discover the extent to which the two layers overlap or repel.

Compression of grafted layers
Schematic of the Compression of Grafted Layers

This project was funded by the EPRSC and Unilever.