The rapid introduction of nanostructured materials continues to drive nanoscale characterisation techniques to provide timely analysis methods. Anasys designs products that measure nanoscale material properties while providing atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging. This family of instrumentation includes the nano-TA (i.e., nano-thermal analysis), which provides nanoscale thermal property measurements, and the nanoIR (i.e., nano infrared) platform, which has pushed the barriers of the field of nanoscale IR measurement to new levels of resolution.
User feedback has led to adding a number of new capabilities to systems bringing greater benefits in terms of resolution and instrument performance. For example, a new IR source with a larger laser tuning range of between 1/900 centimetre (cm) and 1/4000cm now allows users better access to the critical fingerprint regime. In addition, the new source has a smaller line width providing improved spectral resolution and better matching to Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR) databases.
The sensitivity of the nanoIR has also been improved by the addition of an IR source based on a quantum cascade laser (QCL). The resonance enhancement provided by the QCL enables a 10× improvement in sensitivity, enabling the AFM-IR technique to work on films of thickness 10 nanometres (nm) and below.
Dynamic nanomechanical spectroscopy and mapping, which enables the nanoIR to be used as a multifunctional AFM, in addition to being a full-featured AFM, completes the material characterisation suite made up of chemical, mechanical and thermal analysis. This functionality includes the introduction of Lorentz Contact Resonance imaging pioneering the field of wideband nanoscale dynamic mechanical spectroscopy, further enhancing this multi-parameter reporting of materials properties at the nanoscale.
Other enhancements include alignment optimisation, multi-region spectra, automated absorption image sequences, tapping mode AFM and thermal drift compensation. Users benefit with increased instrument productivity with simplified operation with the result of requiring less training.
The scientific sessions at Pittcon 2013 on 17-21 March at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre (booth 3050) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US) once again will include new polymer applications’ presentations using nanoIR. Dr. Curtis Marcott from Light Light Solutions is talking about the nanoscale characterisation of polymeric materials while Dr. Michael Lo from Anasys will present data on the chemical identification of unknown multilayers on the nanoscale.
Photo: Kevin Kjoller, vice president of development for Anasys, working with the AFM-IR nanospectroscopy system