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