Acquisition of an Atomic Force Microscope for Analysis of Inorganic, Organic and Biological Surface Structures

  • Mallouk, Thomas E. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities Program (CRIF) will assist the Department of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University acquire an atomic force microscope (AFM). This equipment will enhance research in a number of areas including the following: (1) structure, dynamics, and physical properties of inorganic monolayers; (2) self- assembly of monolayers for application in bio-interfaces and nano-electronic devices; (3) electron-beam-induced chemistry in self-assembled monolayers with applications to lithography; (4) nucleation and growth studies of poly(methylene) clusters via Au-surface catalyzed decomposition of diazomethane; (5) surface orientation effects in ultrathin polyimide films; (6) composite layer structures based on self-assembled noble-metal colloid monolayers; (7) T4 replication system as a model for DNA replication; (8) nanometer-scale structure in both continuous and discontinuous Au surfaces and (9) comparisons of the tunable microwave frequency AC scanning tunneling microscope (ACSTM) and AFM images. The atomic force probe microscope (AFM) enables researchers to image atoms directly. The technique uses the piezoelectric effect which involves bringing an extremely sharp metal needle within a few angstroms of the sample surface. The distance is small enough for electrons to leak or tunnel across the gap and generate a minute current. As the gap between the tip and the sample increases, the current decreases. As then probe crosses the sample, moving back and forth across its surface, it traces out a contour map of the sample's surface atoms. The AFM is used in the control of material used to fabricate semiconductor circuits.

Effective start/end date11/1/9610/31/97


  • National Science Foundation: $96,900.00


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