Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Liquid-solid interactions, as never before seen

Images taken through the Atomic Force Microscope using the MIT team’s new technique can show details of individual atoms and molecules at the interface between a liquid and a solid surface. Micrograph courtesy of Francesco Stellacci and Kislon Voitchovsky
Images taken through the Atomic Force Microscope using the MIT team’s new technique can show details of individual atoms and molecules at the interface between a liquid and a solid surface. Micrograph courtesy of Francesco Stellacci and Kislon Voitchovsky

Abstract:
New technique improves researchers' ability to measure a key property of material surfaces.

By David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

Liquid-solid interactions, as never before seen

Cambridge, MA | Posted on April 26th, 2010

Wettability — the degree to which a liquid either spreads out over a surface or forms into droplets — is crucial to a wide variety of processes. It influences, for example, how easily a car's windshield fogs up, and also affects the functioning of advanced batteries and fuel-cell systems.

Until now, the only way to quantify this important characteristic of a material's surface has been to measure the shapes of the droplets that form on it, and this method has very limited resolution. But a team of MIT researchers has found a way to obtain images that improves the resolution of such measurements by a factor of 10,000 or more, allowing for unprecedented precision in determining the details of the interactions between liquids and solid surfaces. In addition, the new method can be used to study curved, textured or complex solid surfaces, something that could not be done previously.

"This is something that was unthinkable before," says Francesco Stellacci, the Paul M. Cook Career Development Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, leader of the team that developed the new method. "It allows us to make a map of the wetting," that is, a detailed view of exactly how the liquid interacts with the surface down to the level of individual molecules or atoms, as opposed to just the average interaction of the whole droplet.

The new method is described in a paper appearing on April 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The lead author is postdoctoral fellow Kislon Voïtchovsky, and the paper is coauthored by Stellacci and others at MIT, in England, and in Italy. Stellacci explains that the ability to get such detailed images is important for the study of such processes as catalysis, corrosion and the internal functioning of batteries and fuel cells, and many biological processes such as interactions between proteins.

For example, Voïtchovsky says, in biological research, "you may have a very inhomogeneous sample, with all sorts of reactions going on all over the place. Now we can identify certain specific areas that trigger a reaction."

The method, developed with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Packard Foundation, works by changing the programming that controls an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). This device uses a sharp point mounted on a vibrating cantilever, which scans the surface of a sample and reacts to topology and the properties of the sample to provide highly detailed images. Stellacci and his team have varied a key imaging parameter: They cause the point to vibrate only a few nanometers (as opposed to tens to hundred of nanometers, which is typical).

"By doing so, you actually improve the resolution of the AFM," Stellacci explains. The resulting resolution, fine enough to map the positions of individual atoms or molecules, is "unmatched before with commercial instruments," he says. Such resolution had been achievable before with very expensive specialized AFMs, of which only a few exist in the world, but can now be equaled by the much more common commercial models, of which there are thousands. Stellacci and his colleagues think the improved resolution results from the way the vibrating tip causes the water to repeatedly push against the surface and dissipate its energy there, but this explanation remains to be tested and confirmed by other researchers.

With their demonstration of both a 10,000-fold improvement in resolution for the specific function of measuring the wetting of surfaces and a 20-fold improvement in overall resolution of the lower-cost AFM, Stellacci says it's not clear which of these applications will end up having more impact.

Arvind Raman, a professor and university faculty scholar in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, agrees that these advances have significant potential. The method demonstrated by this team, which Raman was not involved in, "can routinely achieve atomic resolution on hard surfaces even with commercial AFM systems, and it provides great physical insight into the optimum conditions under which this can be achieved, both of which are very significant achievements," he says. "I really think many in the AFM field will jump on this and try to use the technique."

Raman adds that while the team's interpretation of why the method works as it does offers "one possible mechanism behind the image formation, other plausible mechanisms also exist and will need to be studied in the future to confirm the finding."

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Imec Reports Four Percent Growth for 2013 Fiscal Year End —Continues to Accelerate Innovation Through Global Collaborations and Technological Breakthroughs in Nanoelectronics— April 24th, 2014

Multicapacity Microreactor for Catalyst Characterisation April 24th, 2014

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Imec Reports Four Percent Growth for 2013 Fiscal Year End —Continues to Accelerate Innovation Through Global Collaborations and Technological Breakthroughs in Nanoelectronics— April 24th, 2014

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery April 23rd, 2014

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Academic/Education

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

University of Waterloo Visits China to Strengthen Bonds With Research Partners April 21st, 2014

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Announcements

Imec Reports Four Percent Growth for 2013 Fiscal Year End —Continues to Accelerate Innovation Through Global Collaborations and Technological Breakthroughs in Nanoelectronics— April 24th, 2014

Multicapacity Microreactor for Catalyst Characterisation April 24th, 2014

Making graphene work for real-world devices: Fundamental research in phonon scattering helps researchers design graphene materials for applications April 24th, 2014

Return on investment for kit and promotion materials April 24th, 2014

Tools

Multicapacity Microreactor for Catalyst Characterisation April 24th, 2014

Characterizing inkjet inks: Malvern Instruments presents new rheological research April 23rd, 2014

MRI, on a molecular scale: Researchers develop system that could one day peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules April 20th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Introduces the MFP-3D InfinityTM AFM Featuring Powerful New Capabilities and Stunning High Performance April 18th, 2014

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Catching the (Invisible) Wave: UC Santa Barbara researchers create a unique semiconductor that manipulates light in the invisible infrared/terahertz range, paving the way for new and enhanced applications April 11th, 2014

Fuel Cells

University of Surrey collaborates with India and Tata Steel to revolutionise renewable energy March 26th, 2014

Novel membrane reveals water molecules will bounce off a liquid surface: Study may lead to more efficient water-desalination systems, fundamental understanding of fluid flow March 16th, 2014

Big Step for Next-Generation Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers: Researchers at Berkeley and Argonne National Labs Discover Highly Promising New Class of Nanocatalyst February 27th, 2014

Research and applications of iron oxide nanoparticles February 26th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE