As discussed in the appendices A and B of my book, reference and calibration samples are extremely important for AFM. Calibration samples allow the AFM to make accurate, quantitative measurements. Reference samples can be used for training, and certification, and just to check if the instrument (or the probe) are performing as they should. There's a list of commercially available calibration and reference samples here.

AFM piezoelectric scanners tend to change their responses and age over time, so it's necessary they they be recalibrated periodically (typically annually).  All these repeated uses can lead to reference samples becoming dirty and contaminated. This leads to serious problems, because a contaminated samples cannot be properly used for calibration of an instrument, and may also be difficult to use as a reference sample. The article below explains some techniques that can be used to clean AFM calibration and reference samples. Note that this method o sample cleaning first appeared at AFMWorkshop.com. I learned the "NewSkin" method while visiting their headquarters.

I am going to be teaching on two new AFM short courses to be held this summer. The courses are:

AFM Advanced Operation Techniques

and

AFM Bioapplications

Both of these courses will be taught at the headquarters of AFMWorkshop in California, USA, but will be open to, and suitable for, users of all instruments. The courses will be a mix of lectures and practical work with different microscopes.

Both courses are taking place in mid-July. Follow this link to a .pdf brochure, and consult the AFM Workshop website for more details on these courses.

At the time of writing there are places available on both courses, but places will be very limited. I recommend reserving a place ASAP from AFMWorkshop, if you are interested.

 

Dimensional measurements of nanoparticles are extremely important for their applications in a diverse range of fields. The unique properties of nanoparticles depend strongly on their size, so it’s extremely important to be able to characterize, and control nanoparticle sizes. For example, an extremely small change in the dimension of a quantum dot nanoparticle will give rise to dramatically different photoluminescence characteristics. in the case of metallic nanoparticles, the size of the particle will alter light absorption and scattering properties, which are highly important for many applications, including in disease diagnosis and therapy (1). Many other properties depend on nanoparticle size, including magnetic and mechanical properties, interactions with cells and tissues, etc. The shape of nanoparticles also has a strong effect on these properties.

 

Thus, in nanoscience, it is crucial to have a tool that can simply characterise particles size and shape of nanoparticles, irrespective of the material of which they are composed, with sub-nanometer resolution. The figure below shows AFM imaging of a variety of nanoparticle types.

images of three nanoparticle types

Figure above shows (L-R) silica nanospheres, organometallic nanorods, and gold nanotriangles all imaged by AFM. Adapted from figure 7.11 of Eaton and West, Atomic Force Microscopy(2)

 

AFM fulfils these requirements, z-axis (height) measurements in AFM can be accurate to within 0.1 nm. AFM also has several other advantages for characterisation of nanoparticles:

 

The Porto AFM Workshop 2017 has been announced. This is our fifth course!

 

The course will run from the 10th to 13th April. This is a training workshop, aimed at any researcher or scientist, who wants to learn about AFM, or increase their knowledge of the technique. Following the successful courses that have run since 2011, the course will includes several hours hands-on training in acquiring images with the atomic force microscope as well as AFM data processing.

 

Please click the image below to download the flyer with more details.

afm course flyer PDF

 

  UPDATES:

  • More details of the course will be announced soon, meanwhile, as usual, pre-registration can be made by emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Places on the course are very limited, so interested students should make enquiries or register as soon as possible.

  • There will be some guest scientists, talking about advanced applications in different areas. More details will be announced soon

 

 A blog with information and student feedback from the previous courses can be seen here: 2014 courseRequimte AFM Workshop 2013

 Some information about the course that took place in 2011 can be seen here: http://atomicforceblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/2011-requimte-afm-mini-course.html


The course is supported by AFMWorkshop, The Faculty of Sciences of The University of Porto and my research institution, UCIBIO. Thanks to Krystallenia Batziou for po

Our course registration deadline passed in February, and the course for 2016 is now full. Register an interest by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to know when the next course is announced.


Click the image below to go to the course information page, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for enquiries about our course.

 

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