Nanoscience Instruments

Techniques paGES

Techniques refer to a wide range of methods, tools, and approaches used by scientists to investigate, measure, analyze, and interpret phenomena in the natural world. These techniques can vary greatly depending on the field of science and the specific research question at hand.

A scanning electron microscope (SEM) scans a focused electron beam over a surface to create an image. The electrons in the beam interact with the sample, producing various signals that can be used to obtain information about the surface topography and composition.

Electrospinning and electrospraying are voltage-driven fabrication processes governed by an electrohydrodynamic phenomena where fibers and particles are made from a polymer melt/solution.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is an analytical technique used to visualize the smallest structures in matter. Unlike optical microscopes, which rely on light in the visible spectrum, TEM can reveal stunning detail at the atomic scale by magnifying nanometer structures up to 50 million times.

Nanoparticle synthesis and the methods for creating nanoparticles. Nanoparticles can be derived from larger molecules, or synthesized by top-down or bottom-up approach.

The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) works by scanning a very sharp metal wire tip over a surface. By bringing the tip very close to the surface, and by applying an electrical voltage to the tip or sample, we can image the surface at an extremely small scale – down to resolving individual atoms.

Profilometry is a technique used to extract topographical data from a surface. This can be a single point, a line scan or even a full three-dimensional scan. The purpose of profilometry is to get surface morphology, step heights and surface roughness. This can be done using a physical probe or by using light.

Tensiometry is the measure of surface tension, contact angles, density and other properties in order to obtain information on the interactions between gas, liquid and solid phases.

Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is an extremely sensitive mass balance that measures nanogram to microgram level changes in mass per unit area. The heart of the technology is a quartz disc. Quartz is a piezoelectric material that can be made to oscillate at a defined frequency by applying an appropriate voltage usually via metal electrodes. Oscillation frequency can be monitored in real time to obtain useful information about molecular interactions or reactions taking place at the electrode surface, such as film growth, oxidation, corrosion/decay, etc.

Langmuir Films are thin organic films of a thickness of just one molecule and are the source of high expectations. As useful components in many practical and commercial applications such as sensors, detectors, displays and electronic circuit components. With both the possibility to synthesize custom organic molecules and sophisticated thin film deposition technology it is possible to create electrically, optically and biologically active components on a nanometer scale.

Ion milling is the process of removing the top amorphous layer on a material to reveal the pristine sample surface for high-resolution imaging and post-processing.

Mechanical testing is used to determine properties such as hardness, modulus, fracture toughness or yield strength.

Cathodoluminescence (CL) is used to characterize optical properties at the nanoscale. Cathodoluminescence techniques analyze the resulting photons that are emitted in the ultraviolet to near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Nanoindentation enables researchers to measure mechanical properties such as modulus and hardness of materials in different shapes, sizes and scales.

The atomic force microscope (AFM) was developed to overcome a basic drawback with STM – it can only image conducting or semiconducting surfaces.

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