AFM and Nanoscale IR Spectroscopy Seminar

May 30, 2014

Infrared microspectroscopy rapidly analyzes materials to create fingerprints that identify chemical species and create spatially resolved maps of chemical composition. Infrared microspectroscopy suffers from a key limitation that the spatial resolution is limited by optical diffraction to around 10-30 um, limiting its usefulness for many application areas. To overcome this spatial resolution limit, we have developed AFM-based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR).  AFM-IR enables broadly applicable chemical analysis with spatial resolution 50-500X better than conventional IR spectroscopy and with sensitivity down to the scale of individual molecular monolayers.

The AFM-IR technique illuminates a sample with light from a tunable infrared laser source and then uses the tip of an AFM to measure the sample’s local photothermal expansion due to the absorption of infrared light at specific wavelengths. Measuring absorption as a function of wavelength creates an IR absorption spectrum that acts as a chemical fingerprint to characterize and identify chemical components. Chemical composition images can be obtained by mapping this photothermal absorption across a region of a sample with the laser tuned to an absorption band corresponding to a chemical species of interest.  In this talk we will describe AFM-IR applications in materials and life sciences, including measurements of polymers, pharmaceuticals, bacterial cells and membranes, plant cells, skin, hair, bone and other areas.

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