A nano-cheese-cutter to directly measure interfacial adhesion of freestanding nano-fibers
A nano-cheese-cutter is fabricated to directly measure the adhesion between two freestanding nano-fibers. A single electrospun fiber is attached to the free end of an atomic force microscope cantilever, while a similar fiber is similarly prepared on a mica substrate in an orthogonal direction. External load is applied to deform the two fibers into complementary V-shapes, and the force measurement allows the elastic modulus to be determined. At a critical tensile load, “pull-off” occurs when the adhering fibers spontaneously detach from each other, yielding the interfacial adhesion energy. Loading-unloading cycles are performed to investigate repeated adhesion-detachment and surface degradation.