Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Warming up the world of superconductors: Clusters of aluminum metal atoms become superconductive at surprisingly high temperatures February 25th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Possible Futures

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Quantum research past, present and future for discussion at AAAS February 16th, 2015

World’s first compact rotary 3D printer-cum-scanner unveiled at AAAS by NTU Singapore start-up: With production funded by crowdsourcing, the first unit will be delivered to the United States in March February 16th, 2015

Nanotechnology Electric Vehicle (EV) Market Analysis Report 2015: According to Radiant Insights, Inc February 13th, 2015

Academic/Education

NanoTecNexus Launches New App for Learning About Nanotechnology—STEM Education Project Spearheaded by Interns February 26th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

KIT Increases Commitment in Asia: DAAD Funds Two New Projects: Strategic Partnerships with Chinese Universities and Communi-cation Technologies Network February 22nd, 2015

Minus K Technology Announces Its 2015 Vibration Isolator Educational Giveaway to U.S. Colleges and Universities February 18th, 2015

Announcements

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Tools

Hiden CATLAB Microreactor System at ARABLAB 2015 | Visit us on Booth 1011 February 26th, 2015

Renishaw and Bruker team up for a workshop on TERS and co-localised AFM Raman February 26th, 2015

Maximum Precision in 3D Printing: New complete solution makes additive manufacturing standard for microfabrication February 26th, 2015

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography February 26th, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Scientific breakthrough in rechargeable batteries: Researchers from Singapore and Québec Team Up to Develop Next-Generation Materials to Power Electronic Devices and Electric Vehicles February 28th, 2015

In quest for better lithium-air batteries, chemists boost carbon's stability: Nanoparticle coatings improve stability, cyclability of '3DOm' carbon February 25th, 2015

Dendrite eraser: New electrolyte rids batteries of short-circuiting fibers: Solution enables a battery with both high efficiency & current density February 24th, 2015

New Paper-like Material Could Boost Electric Vehicle Batteries: Researchers create silicon nanofibers 100 times thinner than human hair for potential applications in batteries for electric cars and personal electronics February 20th, 2015

Fuel Cells

Review highlights the potential for graphene and other 2D crystals in the energy sector February 4th, 2015

New concept of fuel cell for efficiency and environment: It grasps both performance efficiency and removal of toxic heavy metal ions in direct methanol fuel cells January 5th, 2015

Toward a low-cost 'artificial leaf' that produces clean hydrogen fuel December 3rd, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 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 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE