Model Polyimide Films: Synthesis, Characterization, and Deposition by Resonant Infrared Laser Ablation
Dygert, Nicole Leigh
A new deposition technique for high performance polymer films, resonant infrared laser ablation (RIR-LA) is presented. Ultraviolet laser deposition techniques have been shown to cause decomposition and depolymerization of the deposited polymer films. We hypothesized that the infrared radiation would be a gentler technique compared to ultraviolet radiation and should leave the polymer structure intact. We proposed a technique where a solution-based polymeric precursor is frozen in liquid nitrogen, placed in vacuum chamber, and ablated by a rastered infrared laser beam. Then the ejected material is collected on a substrate forming a thin polymeric film. First we tested the technique on a 15 weight % pyromellitic dianhydride-co-4,4’-oxidianiline (PMDA-ODA) in N-methylpyrrolidinone (NMP), the polymeric precursor to polyimide. PMDA-ODA is converted to polyimide by a thermal cure near 250 °C. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy results confirmed that the PMDA-ODA was transferred intact and without curing by RIR-LA. Molecular weight studies show that only a small portion of the original molecular weight is lost, allowing for the preservation of strength and structural properties. The technique was then tested with other polymers including polyamide imide and polyether imide. Both polymers were successfully transferred intact with no signs of curing. Polyamide imide boasts an even lower cure temperature than polyimide at only 150°C, illustrating how effective RIR-LA is at avoiding thermal transformations.