Atomic Force Microscopy laboratory

The Atomic Force Microscopy laboratory of CIMAINA has been settled in 1999. Since its foundation, the laboratory has been active in the investigation of physico-chemical properties of systems and interfaces at the nanometre scale.
The development and implementation of original protocols based on AFM represents a distinctive element for the laboratory. The efforts of CIMAINA scientists are therefore dedicated to the continuous upgrade of the characterization capabilities of their AFM workstations. Original characterization protocols allowing the simultaneous acquisitions of maps of topography and of different physical-chemical surface properties (friction and adhesion, elasticity, electric impedance,...) have been developed, together with dedicated data processing protocols.

The laboratory is equipped with two atomic force microscopes (AFMs), both from Bruker (formerly Veeco and Digital Instruments). Both instruments, upgraded to the latest versions, provide nanometer resolution in ambient conditions, and are equipped with a fluid cell for imaging biological samples in liquid.

Multimode 8, for the highest resolution imaging and mapping. The workstation includes custom and commercial modules for fluid imaging, nanoscale impedance spectroscopy, nanomechanical and friction tests, nanoscale oxidation patterning, magnetic imaging, probe calibration.

Bioscope Catalyst 64bit, integrated in an inverted optical microscope (Olympus IX71) for the simultaneous AFM and optical characterization of transparent biological samples (using the Microscope Image Registration and Overlay MIRO software), including living cell and tissues in physiological conditions. The workstation includes a commercial stabilized thermostatic perfusion cell.

Stylus profilometer KLA Tencor P6
In addition to AFM instruments, a stylus profilometer equipped with low-force capacitance sensor provides fast characterization of surface morphology, via the acquisition of single topographic profiles, as well as pseudo 3D topographic maps. The main characteristics are: vertical resolution < 1nm, lateral resolution = 1um, stylus force: 0.5-50mg, max scan length = 150mm.

Referent: Alessandro Podestà