25 March 2005 Quality control of polymeric compounds using terahertz imaging
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Polymers are often mixed with other additives or fillers to yield compounds with modified physical properties. In most cases a homogeneous mixture is desired. Yet, it often remains difficult to verify the degree of homogeneity of the resulting compound especially for nano-scaled fillers. We present initial experiments to evaluate the potential of terahertz (THz) spectroscopy for the quality control of polymeric compounds. We study low-density polyethylene (LDPE) samples which contain titanium dioxide nanospheres with a typical diameter of 270 nm which themselves are coated with even smaller silver nanoparticles with a typical diameter of 20 nm. Images obtained with a standard terahertz time-domain spectrometer show significant inhomogeneities in the compound on a millimeter scale. The imaging results indicate imperfectly mixed material regions. On the other hand, we show that also fluctuations in the sample thickness can lead to inhomogeneous terahertz images. A final conclusion, if the inhomogeneities observed in our LDPE/Ag-TiO2 samples result from variations in the compound composition or from thickness fluctuations, cannot be drawn at this point.
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Frank Rutz, Frank Rutz, Martin Koch, Martin Koch, Shilpa Khare, Shilpa Khare, Martin Moneke, Martin Moneke, } "Quality control of polymeric compounds using terahertz imaging", Proc. SPIE 5727, Terahertz and Gigahertz Electronics and Photonics IV, (25 March 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.590301; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.590301

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