Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear

Date:
April 4, 2011
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Scientists have developed a way to measure the wear and degradation of the microscopic probes used to study nanoscale structures in situ and as it's happening. Their technique can both dramatically speed up and improve the accuracy of the most precise and delicate nanoscale measurements done with atomic force microscopy.

As an atomic force microscope’s tip degrades, the change in tip size and shape affects its resonant frequency and that can be used to accurately measure, in real time, the change in the tip’s shape, thereby resulting in more accurate measurements and images at nanometer size scales.
Credit: Killgore, NIST

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a way to measure the wear and degradation of the microscopic probes used to study nanoscale structures in situ and as it's happening. Their technique can both dramatically speed up and improve the accuracy of the most precise and delicate nanoscale measurements done with atomic force microscopy (AFM).

If you're trying to measure the contours of a surface with a ruler that's crumbling away as you work, then you at least need to know how fast and to what extent it is being worn away during the measurement.

This has been the challenge for researchers and manufacturers trying to create images of the surfaces of nanomaterials and nanostructures. Taking a photo is impossible at such small scales, so researchers use atomic force microscopes. Think of a device like a phonograph needle being used, on a nanoscale, to measure the peaks and valleys as it's dragged back and forth across a surface. These devices are used extensively in nanoscale imaging to measure the contours of nanostructures, but the AFM tips are so small that they tend to wear down as they traverse the surface being measured.

Today, most researchers stop the measurement to "take a picture" of the tip with an electron microscope, a time-consuming method prone to inaccuracies.

NIST materials engineer Jason Killgore has developed a method for measuring in real time the extent to which AFM tips wear down. Killgore measures the resonant frequency of the AFM sensor tip, a natural vibration rate like that of a tuning fork, while the instrument is in use. Because changes to the size and shape of the tip affect its resonant frequency, he is able to measure the size of the AFM's tip as it works -- in increments of a tenth of a nanometer, essentially atomic scale resolution. The technique, called contact resonance force microscopy, is described in a paper recently published in the journal Small.

The potential impact of this development is considerable. Thousands of AFMs are in use at universities, manufacturing plants and research and development facilities around the world. Improving their ability to measure and image nanosized devices will improve the quality and effectiveness of those devices. Another benefit is that developing new measurement tips -- and studying the properties of new materials used in those tips -- will be much easier and faster, given the immediate feedback about wear rates.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jason P. Killgore, Roy H. Geiss, Donna C. Hurley. Continuous Measurement of Atomic Force Microscope Tip Wear by Contact Resonance Force Microscopy. Small, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/smll.201002116

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331151357.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2011, April 4). Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331151357.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110331151357.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins