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Lou Germinario - Nanoscale Thermal Characterization

Nanoscale Thermal Property Characterization of Polymers, Thin Films and Coatings



Lou Germinario
Eastman Chemical Company
Kingsport, TN



The Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) has proven to be an invaluable tool for not only imaging polymeric systems, but for probing tip/sample interactions (as in phase imaging) and for mapping a material's mechanical and chemical properties. Recent breakthroughs in nanoscale thermal probe fabrication technology now provide thermal probes with an end radius of ~20 nm. This advancement has enabled the AFM to probe local thermal properties at a sub-100-nm size scale. This presentation discusses applications of AFM-based localized thermal analysis to polymers, thin films and crosslinked polymeric coatings. Examples include the monitoring of the softening point of automotive clearcoat systems as a function of cure time and cure temperature, the characterization of degradation and embrittlement of weathered acrylic-polyurethane coatings, and the measurement of thermal transitions of an assortment of crystalline and amorphous polymer systems. Comparison of nano thermal analysis with bulk Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Modulated DSC (MDSC) is made, and its inherent advantages over DSC in analyzing surfaces is demonstrated.

Lou Germinario received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Gettysburg College in 1970 and his doctorate in Ultrastructure/Materials Science from The Catholic University of America in 1974. His thesis led to the development of cryo-stages used to investigate hydrated biological gels using cryo-electron microscopy. As an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. John Cowley at Arizona State University he designed a cold stage that was used to extend his cryo-EM studies to include STEM and EELS. Following his tenure at ASU, he was awarded an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship with Prof. Michael Beer at John Hopkins University where site-specific organometallic ‘stains’ were used to probe and explore catalytically active sites in proteins and in applications of single atom imaging for DNA sequencing using home-built ‘Crewe-type’ FEG-STEM technology. His last postdoctoral position in the Department of Macromolecular Sciences at Case Western Reserve University led to collaborations with Prof. Phillip Geil, John Blackwell, Jerome Lando and Jack Koenig. Lou joined Eastman Chemical in 1981, and is currently a Senior Research Associate in the physical chemistry laboratory. He has 10 patents and his research interests include polymer structure-property relationships, polyester catalysis, heterogeneous catalyst characterization, industrial problem-solving, scanned probe microscopy (SPM), SPM-based nanomechanical and nanothermal testing, analytical electron microscopy, confocal (Raman) microscopy, and nanostructured polymer hybrids.

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