Correlation of Nanowear Patterns to Viscoelastic Response in a
Thin Polystyrene Melt

Ronald H. Schmidt and Wayne L. Gladfelter*
Department of Chemistry
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Greg Haugstad
Center for Interfacial Engineering, 187 Shepherd Laboratories
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455


The response of a thin-film polystyrene melt to a raster-scanned SFM tip was investigated. At high temperatures the scanning process induced intricate pattern formation whose quantitative characteristics were compared at different temperatures and scan rates. The dependence of the patterns on temperature and scan rate was consistent with time-temperature superposition as described by the Williams-Landel-Ferry (WLF) equation. WLF analysis implies an increased glass transition temperature derived from elevated pressure beneath the tip. The latter provides an estimate of the radius of the affected film region near the tip.