Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Nanowire cantilever for enhancing the efficiency of Atomic Force Microscopy


The conventional atomic force microscope cantilever is a sharp tip that is used for obtaining three-dimensional image of the material. As the force required for imaging is minimum, even then on this force, the cantilever can tear apart the tissues or cells and biological materials. Although there is a continuous effort to make smaller and smaller cantilever, however the force required for imaging is still enough to rupture the biological cells. 

Recently, researchers Molecular Foundary at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / U.S. Department of Energy, have developed nano-sized cantilevers whose gentle touch could help discern the workings of living cells and other soft materials in their natural, liquid environment. Used in combination with a revolutionary detection mechanism, this new imaging tool is sensitive enough to investigate soft materials without the limitations present in other cantilevers.. The system is gentle enough to obtain images without rupturing the minute biological materials or other living cells in the natural liquid environment. Further the whole detection system has been made revolutionary so that the limitations present in the conventional system are overcome. 

The Molecular Foundry is one of the best Research Centre of Department of Energy. It is known for interdisciplinary research for nanotechnology is among the five NSRCs and is engaged in fabricating, processing and characterizing the nanomaterials. It has state of the art facilities for creating excellence in the field of nanotechnology and got investments from National Nanotechnology Initiative.

The article has the name “High sensitivity deflection detection of nanowires,” was published by Babak Sanii and Paul D. Ashby and is available in Physical Review Letters online.

(Illustration by Flavio Robles, Berkeley Lab Public Affairs)

 More information about this could be found here.


April 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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