The μSFA is a new, compact, microscope-ready SFA, for use in the measurement of the interfacial phenomena including the normal forces between surfaces. Here, the μSFA is displayed in an Olympus inverted microscope. Similar to the SFA 2000, the μSFA is intended for use with the FECO (Fringes of Equal Chromatic Order) multiple-beam interferometry technique, for the measurement of forces between two surfaces, to a degree of sensitivity of a few nN and a distance resolution of 1 Å (0.1 nm).
Surface separation is controlled using four different distance control mechanisms. The control mechanisms include a coarse micrometer, medium micrometer, fine micrometer and extra-fine (piezoelectric tube) control. The FECO white-light source is delivered by the microscope itself, a characteristic that is unique to the μSFA.
By analyzing the optical interference fringes (FECO fringes) produced when white light passes through the two surfaces, the shapes of the interacting surfaces and the separation between them can be measured.
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The compact chamber accommodates typical short focal length, large diameter, objectives needed for confocal, fluorescence and other common high magnification microscopy methods.
The μSFA also takes the same dove-tail disks that are available in the SFA 2000, for the transferral of surfactant or lipid bilayer, polymer- or protein-coated surfaces into the apparatus without exposing the coated surfaces to air.