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Scanning Probe Microscopy with Spectroscopic Molecular Recognition

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryORNL researchers developed an innovative imaging method that possesses the imaging capability of scanning near-field ultrasound holography and the chemical specificity of reverse photoacoustic spectroscopy. This imaging method can achieve chemical differentiation with nanometer resolution. DescriptionAtomic force microscopy is a well established technique for imaging surface features of a nanometer or less. In conventional methods, a cantilever has a tip capable of making a nanometer sized contact. However, any small variation in distance between the probe and the sample surface can result in a large change in the contact force between the probe’s tip and the sample. To address this challenge, the invention includes two independent oscillators and is able to distinguish the frequencies of the two acoustic waves applied to the probe.

In addition, electromagnetic energy is applied to the sample, causing a change in phase of the second acoustic wave. The device can also be used for determining chemical characteristics of a sample by applying different acoustic waves.
  • Subsurface topography
  • Nanometer spatial resolution capable of 5 nm
  • Chemical differentiation of surface features
Applications and Industries
  • Atomic force microscopy to study biological and chemical samples
  • Chemical differentiation and imaging with nanometer resolution
More InformationLead Inventor:
Ali Passian
Measurement Science and Systems Engineering
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200802174DevelopmentAvailable10/20/201012/15/2010

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To: Nestor Fronco<>