There are a wide variety of technique available to make these kind of measurements nowadays, however, microscopy is often used, because it is a direct technique (some other techniques measure properties related to size), and because it’s also possible to measure shape at the same time. The size of nanoparticles is extremely important for their properties, and ideally a technique to measure nanoparticle size will have sub-nanometer resolution.
Apart from microscopy, light-scattering techniques are probably the most common techniques used. The method of dynamic light scattering, or DLS; is extremely popular and used in thousands of labs worldwide. A newer method based on laser light scattering, called nanoparticle tracking analysis, or NTA, is currently growing in popularity.
In our project, we prepared nine samples; these we made up of nanoparticles composed of three different, and commonly used materials, a metal, an oxide (silica), and a polymer. We examined each materials in two different sizes, and also tested the ability of each method to distinguish between different populations in mixed samples.
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|Bart showing his results|
Our atomic force microscopy training course for 2017 ran in April, between the 10th and the 13th. Once again, the course was a great success, and all the places were filled. In this post, I quote some of the the feedback we got from some of me of the attendees, as well as some of the images they produced. In this edition, the highlight (for me) was the talk from Prof. Bart Hoogenboom, from UCL.
Bart demonstrated some amazing results in AFM, and gave some real inspiration as to what AFM can achieve.
|Phase image of E. coli cells|
Once again, we had a good mix of students. They came from Wales, Portugal, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany. We had PhD students, AFM technicians, lecturers, post-doctoral fellows and industrial researchers. It's always great to have such a wide range of opinions and nationalities!
As usual, we began with the basics of AFM, including instrumentation, modes, and fundamental concepts. Then the more fun parts, how to prepare samples, tips and tricks for running the instruments, and how to process and analyse the data.Most of the students prepared samples, and they all ran the instruments and processed and analysed image files. Based on the feed back, the students thought the course very worthwhile.
"I liked the course a lot. I think it's well-adapted to people with no AFM experience, and it seems it works well also for experienced users"
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AFM Manufacturer list
The following is a simple alphabetical list of, hopefully, all the AFM manufacturers in the world. If you have any additions to make, get in touch via the contact form. For AFM probes, look at the SPM Probes list, and for reference samples, see the SPM References list.
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"Atomic Force Microscopy by Peter Eaton and Paul West is the manual that should accompany any AFM."
Prof. Othmar Marti, University of Ulm
Peter Eaton and Paul West share a common passion for atomic force microscopy. However, their involvement with atomic force microscopes are from very different perspectives. Over the past 10 years Peter used AFM's as the focal point of his research in a variety of scientific projects from materials science to biology. Paul, on the other hand, is an instrument builder and has spent the past 25 years creating microscopes for scientist and engineers. Together Peter and Paul have created an insightful book on the theory, practice and applications of atomic force microscopes. This book serves as an introduction to scientists and engineers that want to learn about these fascinating devices, and as a reference book for expert AFM users.
The book was published on the 25th March 2010. It can be found at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble, and all major book stores. Click the image on the right to go straight to the amazon page for the book. There is also a Kindle Version of the book available. If you are affiliated to subscribing institution, then you may be able to access it via Oxford Scholarship Online.
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My name is Peter Eaton, and I have been working with Atomic Force Microscopy for more than 15 years. I am currently a Researcher at the Molecular Medicine Institute (IMM) in the University of Lisboa, Portugal. I am the co-author (with Paul West of AFMWorkshop) of the book Atomic Force Microscopy, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. I have collaborated with researchers in the UK, France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, the USA and Germany in AFM. I have taught AFM around the globe, and am the coordinator of the Porto AFM Training Workshop (running from 2011 onwards).
In addition to development of research and education in Atomic Force Microscopy, my interests include:
Antimicrobial peptides derived from amphibians
A complete list of my research papers can be found along with my academic CV here. I have co-authored more than 60 scientific works.
I am happy to collaborate scientifically in interesting projects or carry out scientific consultancy in the field of atomic force microscopy.
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