Scanning Probe Microscopy

spmThe state-of-the-art Scanning Probe Microscopy facility, under the direction of Dr. Tanya Dahms, consists of atomic force- (AF-) and near-field scanning optical microscopes (NSOM).

The AFM measures the topography of nonconductive samples, local resistivity, temperature, elasticity, tribology, thereby probing samples well beyond the limitations of conventional optics. The UofR AFM has been applied to a range of biological systems, from lipid monolayers and bilayers to growing fungal hyphae, but has wide application in all natural sciences.

NSOM imaging offers not only the information provided by AFM imaging (typically topography and surface composition mapping) but also spectroscopic information beyond the diffraction limit. AFM technology is applied to NSOM, maintaining the optical fiber within the "near-field" of the sample such that the lateral spectroscopic resolution is that of the very tiny aperture (30-50 nm) or approximately 1/10 the wavelength of the exciting visible light. The UofR NSOM has been reconfigured for multi-wavelength, single molecule detection to study the distribution and movement of proteins in lipid bilayers and whole cells.
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