A Research Center on Nanomaterials and Energy
Découvrir - Volume 30, Number 5, November-December 2009
lundi 09 novembre 2009
Categories : / Press Releases

The NanoQAM Center of the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) has developed an expertise in the observation of nanoscale objects. Last May, it has acquired a new device: an atomic force microscope (AFM). This equipment allows to detect on a given surface objects measuring between 0.25 nm (carbon atom) and 80 microns (edge of a hair).

Découvrir - Volume 30, Number 5, November-December 2009 - Cover    Découvrir - Volume 30, Number 5, November-December 2009 - Article

This surface is accurately “territory mapped” by an extremely fine tip that can be composed of silicon or gold. A small horizontal arm maintains this tip (like a vinyl record player) and sweeps in the horizontal plane, while making slight movements up and down, depending on the topography. The principle of Wan der Waals forces tends the atoms to attract each other, except when they are too close. In this case, they repel each other). The tip is kept in balance very close to the analyzed surface.

From the accumulated data, an image in three dimensions is produced using an acquisition and processing image software that allows you to view details. It is also possible to manipulate the image to highlight certain aspects such as thickness of the object. The 3D imaging is particularly useful for observation of microfossils.

Source : Découvrir