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Polymer Characterization

By using various microscopy techniques our scientists provide critical and relevant film layer snalysis.

Film technology is extremely complex and is an area of interest in the industrial, packaging, medical, and food industries. Films are often composed of several layers where each layer provides a unique property, such as a gas barrier, adhesion, chemical resistance, and oxidation resistance.  The combination of the various layers forms a functional product.

Important reasons for conducting a film layer analysis may  include: determining the thickness of film layers, competitor comparisons, determining the elemental composition of defects in films, and determining the elemental composition of each film layer.


Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) is often used for film layer analysis.

  • While the SEM has a much higher level of detail than that of an optical microscope, optical microscopy is particularly useful when performing film layer analysis on colored film.
  • An optical microscope can be used in a lower magnification range than the SEM which makes analyzing thick film samples possible as well as providing color to enhance contrast.
  • Optical microscopy is often used as a precursor to SEM to pin point certain areas of interest.
industrial machine with roll of painted plastic film

Sample Considerations

The film sample is typically fixated and cross-sectioned.

The required thickness of the film sample is usually below 2 millimeters for SEM analysis.  However, thicker films can still be analyzed.

Please contact an expert to talk through your specific sample considerations and Film Layer Analysis needs. 


Work we’ve done:

  • Layer thickness of films
  • Identification and composition of particles in films
  • Competitor product analysis and comparative analysis
  • Delamination and film adhesion analysis
  • Elemental composition of film layers

Products we’ve tested:

  • Food Packaging
  • Window tinting
  • Metalized films
  • Film composites
  • Product labels
  • Plastic bags
  • Candy wrappers
  • Foil laminated films
  • Medical packaging
  • Geo-engineering films
  • Electronics packaging