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An Overview On How Probes Work

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By Author: Park Systems
Total Articles: 8
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While many are in awe of the clear imagery atomic force microscopes can create, some are far keener to explore how these advanced devices work to be able to create such images of nanoscale objects. For many years the desire existed to be able to explore these small objects in greater depth than what was possible with an optical microscope. Then in 1982, Dr Gerd Benning, one of the leading researchers in IBM’s lab in Zurich finally invented the solution after years of research. This invention is still one of the most advanced breakthroughs in the history of science and as it was so revolutionary, scientists and researchers across the globe still rely on Dr Benning’s invention. While manufacturers such as the leading team at the global leader in the field, Park Systems, have made several design changes to the initial design to continuously optimise not only the atomic force microscope but also the quality of imagery available to recreate through the aid of the device, the basic principle behind a probe moving across a surface remains the same today, as back nearly thirty years ago.

The success of an AFM system depends ...
... completely on the effectiveness of the probe it relies on to be able to create the desired images. An AFM operates on the principle of having movement of a probe over the surface of the object that you are studying. The probe is attached to a cantilever that moves delicately over the surface of the object. As the probe follows the surface of the particle, the relevant advanced software process and transforms the movement it creates, into imagery. The specific method or contact method works especially well on solid surfaces. Industries that rely on the specific method would include the development of polymers, metals and other research fields working in the development and enhancement of various solid structures. It is also the method that many factories rely on for micro-imaging and quality control during the manufacturing process. In these situations, they put the AFM’s capabilities to use to check for minor cracks or weaknesses in the items they create. These minor weaknesses or even hairline cracks can weaken the structure of metal surfaces and early detection is vital.
While the atomic force microscope is highly advanced and made a massive impact in a wide range of scientific research fields there is still the challenge that not all nanoscale surfaces can be explored and researched in the same manner. Fields such as biological research depend on a device that won’t have any contact. These fields are vital to the health and wellbeing of the world and include for example virology. As the surfaces that researchers in these fields explore often don’t have enough binding structure and are also often covered in a thin film, the results they obtain from contact mode can be inaccurate. Therefore, these scientists rely on a different kind of atomic force microscopy probe. The non-contact method is far more advanced and highly accurate when it comes to the research of biological material. As the non-contact method requires no contact at all and the probe simply moves above the surface, the surface can consist of much softer tissue. The non-contact probe relates the changes in friction between the probe tip and the surface to the software that recreates an image of the surface.

These probes are however not only for research and imagery but scientists can also apply them to manipulate the surface of the particle. The ability to manipulate the objects you are studying is vital in progress during research and is often key to the development of treatments and solutions. Hence, it is perfectly valid to say that most of the success of an AFM lies in the effectiveness of the probe.

About Us
Our team at Park Systems is always working to create change through advances in the field of research and technology by supplying premium quality equipment scientists need for microscopic exploration on a nano level. One of our most advanced features is our commitment to absolute accuracy and precision in all we do and the products we deliver. We aim to deliver the resources you need to have the breakthroughs you work for and to provide the support you need from any of our offices based globally. Visit our website at https://www.parkafm.com and explore the numerous possibilities we offer to help you achieve excellence.

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