Direct observation of phenomena occurring under atmospheric conditions, especially at the nanometer scale, would offer a unique opportunity to understand the dynamics of various processes. A novel electron microscope, the atmospheric scanning electron microscope (ASEM), has recently been developed and allows for the observation of nanoscale objects under atmospheric conditions. In this paper, we present some examples of dynamic phenomena in polymer materials observed using ASEM. The first example is phase separation of a binary polymer blend upon solvent evaporation, a representative example of a non-linear non-equilibrium phenomenon in physics. Phaseseparated structures were found to appear at the final stage of solvent evaporation. Also, we found that irradiation of organic liquids (e.g., dibenzyl ether) with the ASEM electron beam induced polymerization, and the resulting material showed interesting cathodoluminescence behavior. Thus, ASEM may be useful as a tool for simultaneous polymerization and fabrication, in addition to offering a means for direct nanoscale observation of materials under atmospheric conditions.
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