Using shifts in the electronic emission curve to evaluate polymer surface degradation
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The polymer surface degradation and/or modification evolution of Teflon FEP and Mylar C films caused by a low energy electron beam were analyzed using a new method that consists in measuring the second crossover energy shift in the electronic emission curve. Upon prolonged irradiation, the second crossover energy shifts irreversibly to lower values in Teflon FEP but to higher values in Mylar C, indicating distinct mechanisms of surface degradation for the two polymers. The method represents a relatively inexpensive way to monitor early stages of surface degradation since the secondary electron emission comes from a maximum depth below the geometric surface of 100 mn in insulators. (C) 2001 Elsevier B.V. Ltd. All rights reserved.