Lateral Molecular Force Microscope - Easy Access IP

Detection techniques currently used in scanning force microscopy impose limitations on the geometrical dimensions of the probes and, as a consequence, on their force sensitivity and temporal response. The University of Bristol invention is a scanning probe microscopy system based on a probe detection method that uses scattered evanescent electromagnetic waves.

The patented detection system senses where the probe tip actually is in relation to the specimen and also the actual movement of the tip, rather than the movement inferred from the cantilever. The physical shape of the cantilever is not so critical as it is no longer necessary to bounce a laser beam off the back of it. Therefore the cantilever can be made very small with a high resonant frequency – essential if you want to scan very fast in conventional scanning force microscopy. Finally the cantilever can be oriented vertically for the transverse dynamic force microscopy mode with no difficulty. These advantages enable rapid non-contact images of biomolecules to be taken for the first time.

The schematic shows the detection system. An evanescent electromagnetic wave is produced above a transparent surface by using a totally internally reflected laser beam. When the end of the tip enters the evanescent field it disrupts the field causing light to propagate and become visible to a photo detector.


• Enables the use of force sensors with sub-micron size and investigation of biomolecular systems and high speed imaging

• Can be developed to be integrated with existing scanning probe systems.

Further detailed information can be found in the publication: Antognozzi, M et al. 'A new detection system for extremely small vertically mounted cantilevers', Nanotechnology, 19,(pp.1-10), 2008

Granted US patent, pending in Europe

US 8,051,493 issued 2011-11-01   [MORE INFO]

Type of Offer: Sale or Licensing

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