The Foundation for Polish Science has announced the winners of the third edition of the IMPULS competition. The aim of the contest is promoting applied research and developing scientists’ skills related to the commercialization of research and development results.

More than 1 million PLN will be divided between 11 prize-winners who will realize an innovative scientific projects with commercialization potential.

One of the prize-winners (III category prize) is dr. Dariusz Jarząbek from the Laboratory of Surface Layers (Department of Mechanics Materials IPPT PAN). The topic of the rewarded project is ‘Measurement technique and the device for determination of viscoelactic properties of materials at the nanoscale’. The Foundation will finance the construction of the prototype device.

The aim of the project is the development of the measurement technique and a device for determination of viscoelastic properties of thin polymer films. Furthermore, the commercialization potential of the project results will be evaluated.

The project is based on two scientific publications of the Author. The first publication concerns the method of viscosity determination of thin polymer films [1]. The second one is about the so called nanopillars, which are used to measure Young’s modulus and fracture strength of materials at nanoscale [2]. In the project, both the ideas are connected. Oscillating force will be applied to polymer nanopillars. The force may be perpendicular as well as lateral to the investigated surface. The changes of the resonant frequency will be monitored and then the viscosity or Young’s modulus can be determined. The technique is a nanoscale version of well-known dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) [3].

In Fig. 2 the scheme of a sample is shown. Not only nanopillars but also larger pillars and flat surfaces of polymers and other materials can be investigated.

[1] Jarzabek DM, Rymuza Z, Horiba A, Hirai Y. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 2011;29.

[2] Jarzabek DM, Kaufmann AN, Schift H, Rymuza Z, Jung TA. Nanotechnology 2014;25.

[3] Brinson HF, Brinson LC, Polymer Engineering Science and Viscoelasticy – An introduction, Springer, 2008.