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Scientists at the University of Coruña Use THMS600 Stage for Polymer Research

September 10, 2013

Market leaders in temperature controlled microscopy, Linkam Scientific Instruments report on the use of their popular THMS600 stage for polymer research at the University of A Coruña (A UDC), Spain.

Founded in 1989, the University of A Coruña (A UDC) promotes the generation, management and dissemination of cultural, scientific, technological and professional development through research and teaching. The University aims to raise levels of welfare for the whole society through the pursuit of social progress, science and technology.

Dr. Birgit Bittmann and her team at the University are using the Linkam THMS600 stage to help understand polymer materials. She explained: "The temperature stage is applied for investigations on the crystallization behaviour of thermoplastic polymers. The crystal structure of plastics is related to their properties (e.g. mechanical properties) and, therefore, also correlates to their suitability for a range of applications. The aim of our research is to understand the relationship between processing, structure and properties of plastic materials."

The THMS600 is one of the most widely used heating and freezing microscope stages on the market. Over 4000 stages have been sold around the world to date. The THMS600 is used in many applications where high heating/freezing rates and 0.1°C accuracy and stability are needed. Samples can be quickly characterized by heating to within a few degrees of the required temperature at a rate of up to 150°C/min with no overshoot, then slowed down to a few tenths of a degrees per minute to closely examine sample changes. The entire experiment can be saved as an online plot or exported to a spreadsheet application. There are various version options for this stage, including pressure, vacuum, electrical sample measurement and sample holders to mount the stage vertically in IR or x-ray spectrometers.

Dr. Bittmann added: "The Linkam temperature stage allows us to perform a controlled heating experiment (to melt our samples), and subsequently, to perform controlled cooling for observing the crystal growth of semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymers by means of polarized optical light microscopy. Before the Linkam temperature stage was installed in our lab, we melted the samples by putting them into an oven. We then observed crystallization cooling down to room temperature. However, neither heating nor cooling was controlled and it was impossible to determine at which temperature crystallization started. The temperature stage makes controlled heating and cooling possible and enables us to correlate the temperature and cooling rate to the crystallite growth in our polymers. Thus, for a determined cooling rate, we are able to determine the start of crystallization."

Finally, she noted that the "major benefits of the Linkam THMS600 are that it is easy to use and it's accurate temperature control."

Visit Linkam at and learn about the broad range of applications in the field of temperature-controlled microscopy.