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Depth Profiling of the Optical Absorption Coefficient in Ultraviolet-Degraded Poly(vinylchloride) Films by Dual Beam Light Profile Microscopy

Volume 59, Number 4 (April 2005) Page 511-518

Power, J.F.; Fu, S.W.; Nepotchatykh, O.V.

Dual beam laser light profile microscopy (LPM) was applied in this work to the depth mapping of the optical absorption coefficient in photo-degraded poly(vinyl chloride) films. Depth profiles followed the absorption coefficient of a conjugated polyene photoproduct at visible wavelengths in photolyzed films of approximately 200 μm thickness. Both continuous and layered (separable laminate) films were studied. The absorption coefficient profiles reconstructed from photo-degraded thin films showed the classic concentration profiles seen in the literature for PVC degraded in the presence of oxygen and nitrogen atmospheres. In the case of single thin layers with continuous properties, the depth profiles were smooth and regular with minimum spatial noise. In the LPM of laminate structures, more optical anomalies were present because of the multi-ply interfacial structures that appeared in both the images and the reconstructed depth profiles. Notwithstanding, it was possible to profile the optical absorption coefficient at a level of error comparable to standard microtome methods. The latter was determined by comparing the LPM results to a destructive layer-by-layer analysis performed in parallel on the imaged materials. The dual beam LPM method should be generally useful for establishing polyene concentration profiles in industrial materials produced by photochemical, thermal, and chemical degradation mechanisms.