Researchers Increase Sensitivity of Atomic Force Microscopes Using Laser Beams

Image Credit: Georgy Shafeev/Shutterstock.com

Researchers at the Australia National University’s Research School of Physics and Engineering have vastly improved the sensitivity of atomic force microscopes using laser beams.

Atomic force microscopes are used to analyse and measure the tiny forces between molecules at the nanoscale. 

The new innovative technique, carried out at Australian National University, involves lowering the temperature of the nanowire probe of the atomic force microscope to frigid temperatures using laser beams.  This enables the instrument to detect the weight of tiny objects such as an individual virus.  

The atomic force microscope becomes 20 times stronger when it is cooled down to within 8 degrees of absolute zero.

Ordinarily, the nano-probe vibrates at room temperature due to its warm condition, thereby producing noisy measurements. This new research found that the temperature of the nano-probe can be reduced using a laser, which addresses the vibration problem.

Once the nano-probe had been sufficiently cooled, the instrument achieved a level of sensitivity which allowed it to detect the weight of a large virus, whose weight is 100 billion times lower than that of a mosquito.

The researchers discovered that it is not possible to use the nano-probe when the laser is turned on as the energy of the laser disturbs the measurements obtained.

To tackle this problem, they turned off the laser and took the measurements within a few milliseconds of the probe reaching room temperature.

Multiple measurements were taken during multiple heating and cooling cycles in order to obtain a highly accurate final value.

Alexander Chilton

Written by

Alexander Chilton

Alexander has a BSc in Physics from the University of Sheffield. After graduating, he spent two years working in Sheffield for a large UK-based law firm, before relocating back to the North West and joining the editorial team at AZoNetwork. Alexander is particularly interested in the history and philosophy of science, as well as science communication. Outside of work, Alexander can often be found at gigs, record shopping or watching Crewe Alexandra trying to avoid relegation to League Two.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Chilton, Alexander. (2017, August 01). Researchers Increase Sensitivity of Atomic Force Microscopes Using Laser Beams. AZoM. Retrieved on July 21, 2024 from https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=42218.

  • MLA

    Chilton, Alexander. "Researchers Increase Sensitivity of Atomic Force Microscopes Using Laser Beams". AZoM. 21 July 2024. <https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=42218>.

  • Chicago

    Chilton, Alexander. "Researchers Increase Sensitivity of Atomic Force Microscopes Using Laser Beams". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=42218. (accessed July 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Chilton, Alexander. 2017. Researchers Increase Sensitivity of Atomic Force Microscopes Using Laser Beams. AZoM, viewed 21 July 2024, https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=42218.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.