The probe microscopy laboratory works in the fields of advanced materials and biophysics, using mainly atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM), respectively.
The properties of thin films at the nanoscale are studied, including oligomeric thin films, 2D materials, polymeric substrates and gels. The elastic properties of surfaces, even for high elastic modulus values, are measured by means of ultrasonic force microscopy (UFM), which is also able to image buried surfaces. These studies found applications in a wide range of fields spanning from organic electronics to novel substrates for biomedical engineering.
The SICM, on the other hand, works on samples immersed in electrolytic solution and is particularly suited to image morphological and cytomechanical features of fragile samples with low elastic modulus values, such as living cells in vitro. This technique is rapidly evolving towards new functions that include the measurement of surface charge, local temperature and particle detection. Our instrumentation, unique in Italy, has been so far especially applied to investigate the effects of pressure stimuli on different cell kinds.
A more detailed description of some activities can be found at the links below.
- Applications of scanning ion conductance microscopy (SIMC) in cytomechanics
- Development of a scanning ion conductance microscope (SICM) prototype with AFM and optical modules
- Thin film properties on the nanoscale: from oligomers to polymer, from 2d materials to ferroelectrics
- Ultrasonic force microscopy (ufm): nanomechanics and subsurface detection.