Polymer and Materials Science
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) has been used to detect and quantitate the thallium concentration resulting from the thallous ethoxide derivatization of phenol and carboxylic acid groups contained in the surface region of bisphenol-A polycarbonate (PC) sheet. Hydrolysis of the PC surface prior to derivatization leads to increased thallium levels, in which the chemical nature of the thallium is shown to be of the form R-O-Tl (R = alkyl or aromatic) by electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA). Similar trends in thallium concentrations were observed by both RBS and ESCA for PC surfaces that had been exposed for increasing lengths of time to accelerated weathering and outdoor Florida conditions. The detection limit for thallium in PC using RBS is ca. 5 × 1013 atoms/cm2. The diffusion of thallous ethoxide and transesterification of the aromatic carbonate linkage led to a thallium-containing layer 300-700 Å thick, which increased the experimental uncertainty when assaying residual uncapped polymer chains in unweathered material. During the course of the RBS analysis, the interaction of 2-MeV 4He+ with the PC substrate caused dramatic chemical and physical changes. Microscopy and profilometry indicate that a crater was formed having the same cross-sectional area as the incident ion beam with a depth (ca. 0.3-1.5 μ) that varied according to the beam energy and integrated charge. ESCA analysis provided evidence for the loss of the carbonate linkage and the appearance of carbonyl and ester groups. Infrared analysis of the crater bottom shows the appearance of O-H stretch, carbonyl functionality other than aromatic carbonate, and enhanced aromatic ring stretch vibrations. Crosslinking and subsequent densification of the polymer matrix are though to be responsible for the observed morphological changes. It is suggested that this beam-induced damage does not prohibit the use of RBS to measure high-Z elements on a PC matrix since quantitation of 1000-Å Au layers on silicon and PC gave identical results.
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