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Agilent Installs 3 AFMs at South Dakota State University

Published on December 6, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that the Department of Electrical Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU) has installed three additional scientific-grade atomic force microscopes (AFMs).

Two of the new instruments, an Agilent 5500 AFM and an Agilent 5420 AFM, will be used by the nano research group, led by Dr. Venkat Bommisetty and other researchers at SDSU. The AFMs will be used to perform high-resolution electrical properties measurements of various photo-active materials and photovoltaic structures. These instruments will be installed in the Molecular Electronics Laboratory, a core-shared facility developed by SDSU's nano research group. The third instrument, an Agilent 5500 AFM, will be used by Dr. Qiquan Qiao, an assistant professor whose research focuses primarily on organic photovoltaics. Dr. Qiao will use the 5500 to extend the scope of his studies in Kelvin force microscopy (KFM).

"We are very pleased to provide Dr. Bommisetty and Dr. Qiao with the advanced measurement capabilities, outstanding application flexibility, and intelligent instrument modularity required to meet their needs," stated Jeff Jones, operations manager for Agilent's nanoinstrumentation facility in Chandler, Arizona. "We look forward to continuing to work closely with both researchers in the upcoming years."

In 2007, Dr. Bommisetty spearheaded the purchase of SDSU's first Agilent AFM system, a key laboratory resource shared among members of the department. Dr. Bommisetty and Agilent then partnered to submit a National Science Foundation (NSF) instrument development grant proposal, which was subsequently funded in 2009. As a result, joint work on the development of an instrument for high-resolution electrical properties measurements under controlled environments is well underway.

"The goal of this partnership is to develop a scanning probe instrument that can probe performance-limiting factors in photovoltaic structures," said Dr. Bommisetty. "The scanning probe microscopes are key for evaluating materials properties and studying structure-property relationships."

SDSU is using organic, inorganic and hybrid materials to engineer the nanoscale properties of new devices designed to convert solar energy into electricity. SDSU is procuring several AFM-based tools and each will be used to probe a specific property. A team of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will complete the configuration of the AFMs by mid-2011. The facility will remain open for all the researchers.

Dr. Bommisetty's research encompasses nanotechnology, molecular electronics, nanomaterials, bio-inspired materials, organic, inorganic and hybrid photovoltaics, nanosensors, thin films and surface science. Dr. Qiao's areas of interest include organic photovoltaics, organic light-emitting diodes, organic transistors, semiconducting polymers and dyes, and nanomaterials.

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