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Limitations of Using Raman Microscopy for the Analysis of High-Content-Carbon-Filled Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Rubber

Volume 57, Number 12 (Dec. 2003) Page 1482-1486

Ghanbari-Siahkali, Afshin; Almdal, Kristoffer; Kingshott, Peter

The effects of laser irradiation on changes to the surface chemistry and structure of a commercially available ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber sample after Raman microscopy analysis was investigated. The Raman measurements were carried out with different levels of laser power on the sample, ranging from 4.55 mW to 0.09 mW. The surface of the EPDM was analyzed before and after laser exposure using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. The techniques have surface probe depths of approximately ≤10 nm and 1 μm, respectively. Both sets of analysis show that ingredients of the blended EPDM rubber "bloom" to the surface as a result of local heating that takes place due to the absorption of laser by carbon black during the Raman analysis. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis was also performed on the Raman analyzed areas to visually illustrate the effects created due to laser light exposure (i.e., burning marks). The change in surface chemistry also occurs in regions a few millimeters from the exposed sites, indicating that the effect is quite long range. However, this phenomenon has no major influence, as far as XPS or ATR-FTIR results disclose, on the backbone structure of the rubber sample. The results indicate that precautions should be taken when analyzing complex blended polymer samples using Raman spectroscopy.