JPK Instruments, a world-leading manufacturer of nanoanalytic instrumentation for research in life sciences and soft matter, reports on how researchers from Kanazawa University in Japan have used the NanoWizard®3 AFM to push the boundaries of high resolution imaging on large objects.
Professor Takeshi Fukuma runs a research group in the Division of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Kanazawa University in Japan. The Fukuma Laboratory focuses on molecular-scale analysis and measurements of biological phenomena using atomic force microscopy, AFM.
Describing his work, Professor Fukuma said "I work on the development of atomic-scale AFM instruments and techniques. While some of the state-of-the-art AFMs exhibit very high spatial resolution, their application range has been limited to simple materials of small sample size. I would like to improve the applicability of the atomic-scale AFM and use it for the practical investigations in broader academic and industrial areas. AFM has a unique capability of atomic-scale resolution imaging even with a simple setup.
I want a system that is simple and compact so that it may be expanded easily. This means that in our laboratory-level facility, we can easily modify the setup and explore new possibilities. In addition, nanoscale measurement technique provided by AFM is one of the fundamental research tools. Thus, its improvement may lead to the progress in many research fields. Such a high impact of the technique is one of the reasons for me to work on AFM development."
Continuing, he said, "I chose the NanoWizard® AFM from JPK because it is well designed to be combined with optical microscopes. This combination provides an excellent optical view to align the tip position over a large sample. This capability is very important to achieve our research goal. We wanted to perform high-resolution imaging with JPK's AFM and to obtain this performance even on large samples. For me, the main advantage of the NanoWizard system is the good combination with an inverted optical microscope. Initially, I thought it was important only for biology. But, after I started to use it, I found it is also useful for various other applications. For example, we have used it for estimating the age of rocks by imaging nanoscale cracks created by the decay of uranium. In this application, we needed to have good optical view to align the AFM tip to the surface of a small particle."