Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • Publication
    Frequency modulation atomic force microscopy in ambient environments utilizing robust feedback tuning
    (American Institute of Physics, 2009-02-02) ; ; ;
    Frequency modulation atomic force microscopy (FM-AFM) is rapidly evolving as the technique of choice in the pursuit of high resolution imaging of biological samples in ambient environments. The enhanced stability afforded by this dynamic AFM mode combined with quantitative analysis enables the study of complex biological systems, at the nanoscale, in their native physiological environment. The operational bandwidth and accuracy of constant amplitude FM-AFM in low Q environments is heavily dependent on the cantilever dynamics and the performance of the demodulation and feedback loops employed to oscillate the cantilever at its resonant frequency with a constant amplitude. Often researchers use ad hoc feedback gains or instrument default values that can result in an inability to quantify experimental data. Poor choice of gains or exceeding the operational bandwidth can result in imaging artifacts and damage to the tip and/or sample. To alleviate this situation we present here a methodology to determine feedback gains for the amplitude and frequency loops that are specific to the cantilever and its environment, which can serve as a reasonable "first guess", thus making quantitative FM-AFM in low Q environments more accessible to the nonexpert. This technique is successfully demonstrated for the low Q systems of air (Q∼40) and water (Q∼1). In addition, we present FM-AFM images of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblast cells acquired using the gains calculated by this methodology demonstrating the effectiveness of this technique.
      648Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Nanomechanics of Cells and Biomaterials Studied by Atomic Force Microscopy
    The behavior and mechanical properties of cells are strongly dependent on the biochemical and biomechanical properties of their microenvironment. Thus, understanding the mechanical properties of cells, extracellular matrices, and biomaterials is key to understanding cell function and to develop new materials with tailored mechanical properties for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has emerged as an indispensable technique for measuring the mechanical properties of biomaterials and cells with high spatial resolution and force sensitivity within physiologically relevant environments and timescales in the kPa to GPa elastic modulus range. The growing interest in this field of bionanomechanics has been accompanied by an expanding array of models to describe the complexity of indentation of hierarchical biological samples. Furthermore, the integration of AFM with optical microscopy techniques has further opened the door to a wide range of mechanotransduction studies. In recent years, new multidimensional and multiharmonic AFM approaches for mapping mechanical properties have been developed, which allow the rapid determination of, for example, cell elasticity. This Progress Report provides an introduction and practical guide to making AFM-based nanomechanical measurements of cells and surfaces for tissue engineering applications. Atomic force microscopy is an indispensable tool for nanomechanical measurements of cells, cell microenvironments, and biomaterials. The mechanical properties of cells and their function are influenced by the elasticity of the extracellular matrix. Thus, understanding the nanomechanical properties is key for tissue engineering applications.
      647Scopus© Citations 37
  • Publication
    Quantitative comparison of closed-loop and dual harmonic Kelvin probe force microscopy techniques
    Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is a widely used technique to map surface potentials at the nanometer scale. In traditional KPFM, a feedback loop regulates the DC bias applied between a sharp conductive probe and a sample to nullify the electrostatic force (closed-loop operation). In comparison, open-loop techniques such as dual harmonic KPFM (DH-KPFM) are simpler to implement, are less sensitive to artefacts, offer the unique ability to probe voltage sensitive materials, and operate in liquid environments. Here, we directly compare the two techniques in terms of their bandwidth and sensitivity to instrumentation artefacts. Furthermore, we introduce a new correction for traditional KPFM termed “setpoint correction,” which allows us to obtain agreement between open and closed-loop techniques within 1%. Quantitative validation of DH-KPFM may lead to a wider adoption of open-loop KPFM techniques by the scanning probe community.
      548Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Piezoelectricity in collagen type II fibrils measured by scanning probe microscopy
    (American Institute of Physics, 2014-08-11) ; ; ; ;
    The converse piezoelectric effect in collagen type II fibrils, the main collagen constituent in cartilage, was investigated using piezoresponse force microscopy. The fibrils exhibited shear piezoelectric behavior similar to that previously reported in collagen type I fibrils and followed the same cantilever-fibril angle dependence present for type I. A uniform polarization directed from the amine to carboxyl termini, as seen for collagen type I, was observed in all type II fibrils studied. The shear piezoelectric coefficient, d 15, however, for type II was roughly 28–32% of the value measured for type I fibrils. Possible explanations for the reduced piezoelectric coefficient of type II collagen are provided.
      597Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Dual harmonic Kelvin probe force microscopy at the graphene-liquid interface
    Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is a powerful technique for the determination of the contact potential difference (CPD) between an atomic force microscope tip and a sample under ambient and vacuum conditions. However, for many energy storage and conversion systems, including graphene-based electrochemical capacitors, understanding electrochemical phenomena at the solid¿liquid interface is paramount. Despite the vast potential to provide fundamental insight for energy storage materials at the nanoscale, KPFM has found limited applicability in liquid environments to date. Here, using dual harmonic (DH)-KPFM, we demonstrate CPD imaging of graphene in liquid. We find good agreement with measurements performed in air, highlighting the potential of DH-KPFM to probe electrochemistry at the graphene¿liquid interface.
      659Scopus© Citations 49
  • Publication
    Piezoelectric Tensor of Collagen Fibrils Determined at the Nanoscale
    Piezoelectric properties of rat tail tendons, sectioned at angles of 0, 59, and 90° relative to the plane orthogonal to the major axis, were measured using piezoresponse force microscopy. The piezoelectric tensor at the length scale of an individual fibril was determined from angle-dependent in-plane and out-of-plane piezoelectric measurements. The longitudinal piezoelectric coefficient for individual fibrils at the nanoscale was found to be roughly an order of magnitude greater than that reported for macroscopic measurements of tendon, the low response of which stems from the presence of oppositely oriented fibrils, as confirmed here.
      946Scopus© Citations 72
  • Publication
    Investigation of AFM-based machining of ferroelectric thin films at the nanoscale
    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been utilized for nanomechanical machining of various materials including polymers, metals, and semiconductors. Despite being important candidate materials for a wide range of applications including data storage and actuators, ferroelectric materials have rarely been machined via AFM. AFM-based machining of ferroelectric nanostructures offers advantages over established techniques, such as bottom-up approaches and focused ion beam milling, in select cases where low damage and low-cost modification of already-fabricated thin films are required. Through a systematic investigation of a broad range of AFM parameters, we demonstrate that AFM-based machining provides a low-cost option to rapidly modify local regions of the film, as well as fabricate a range of different nanostructures, including a nanocapacitor array with individually addressable ferroelectric elements.
      314Scopus© Citations 15
  • Publication
    Nanoscale Piezoelectric Properties of Self-Assembled Fmoc-FF Peptide Fibrous Networks
    Fibrous peptide networks, such as the structural framework of self-assembled fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl diphenylalanine (Fmoc-FF) nanofibrils, have mechanical properties that could successfully mimic natural tissues, making them promising materials for tissue engineering scaffolds. These nanomaterials have been determined to exhibit shear piezoelectricity using piezoresponse force microscopy, as previously reported for FF nanotubes. Structural analyses of Fmoc-FF nanofibrils suggest that the observed piezoelectric response may result from the noncentrosymmetric nature of an underlying β-sheet topology. The observed piezoelectricity of Fmoc-FF fibrous networks is advantageous for a range of biomedical applications where electrical or mechanical stimuli are required.
      497Scopus© Citations 70
  • Publication
    Open loop Kelvin probe force microscopy with single and multi-frequency excitation
    Conventional Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) relies on closed loop (CL) bias feedback for the determination of surface potential (SP). However, SP measured by CL-KPFM has been shown to be strongly influenced by the choice of measurement parameters due to non-electrostatic contributions to the input signal of the bias feedback loop. This often leads to systematic errors of several hundred mV and can also result in topographical crosstalk. Here, open loop (OL)-KPFM modes are investigated as a means of obtaining a quantitative, crosstalk free measurement of the SP of graphene grown on Cu foil, and are directly contrasted with CL-KPFM. OL-KPFM operation is demonstrated in both single and multi-frequency excitation regimes, yielding quantitative SP measurements. The SP difference between single and multilayer graphene structures using OL-KPFM was found to be 63 ± 11 mV, consistent with values previously reported by CL-KPFM. Furthermore, the same relative potential difference between Al2O3-coated graphene and Al2O3-coated Cu was observed using both CL and OL techniques. We observed an offset of 55 mV between absolute SP values obtained by OL and CL techniques, which is attributed to the influence of non-electrostatic contributions to the input of the bias feedback used in CL-KPFM.
      722Scopus© Citations 62
  • Publication
    High viscosity environments: an unexpected route to obtain true atomic resolution with atomic force microscopy
    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is widely used in liquid environments, where true atomic resolution at the solid–liquid interface can now be routinely achieved. It is generally expected that AFM operation in more viscous environments results in an increased noise contribution from the thermal motion of the cantilever, thereby reducing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Thus, viscous fluids such as ionic and organic liquids have been generally avoided for high-resolution AFM studies despite their relevance to, e.g. energy applications. Here, we investigate the thermal noise limitations of dynamic AFM operation in both low and high viscosity environments theoretically, deriving expressions for the amplitude, phase and frequency noise resulting from the thermal motion of the cantilever, thereby defining the performance limits of amplitude modulation, phase modulation and frequency modulation AFM. We show that the assumption of a reduced SNR in viscous environments is not inherent to the technique and demonstrate that SNR values comparable to ultra-high vacuum systems can be obtained in high viscosity environments under certain conditions. Finally, we have obtained true atomic resolution images of highly ordered pyrolytic graphite and mica surfaces, thus revealing the potential of high-resolution imaging in high viscosity environments.
      424Scopus© Citations 7