Video-Rate Atomic Force Microscopy Enables New Research Opportunities

Marta Kocun

12:00 - 12:30 | Tuesday 25 July 2017 | Grand Ballroom #5



Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a unique and powerful tool for measuring structural, mechanical, and electrical properties of materials at the nanometer scale. A limitation of conventional AFM is that it is a slow technique, with image acquisition times on the order of minutes. The advent of “fast-scanning” AFMs, almost a decade ago, improved imaging speeds but still only allowed processes to be captured with a temporal resolution of approximately ten seconds. The recent introduction of a practical video-rate AFM has improved imaging speeds by yet another order of magnitude and now makes it possible to capture movies with a temporal resolution better than a second. This presentation will cover some recent results taken via video-rate AFM, including the real-time self-assembly of collagen into fibrils, the enzymatic cleaving of DNA, and the migration of surfactant micelles on graphite. Additionally, we will discuss related results such as the melting/re-crystallization of polymers and consider future research opportunities that might be enabled by this technology. Finally, we will briefly review the design of the AFM used for this work, the newly released Asylum Research Cypher VRS, the first and only full-featured video-rate AFM.