University of Illinois researchers develop novel technique for chemical identification at the nanometer scale
For more than 20 years, researchers have been using atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure and characterize materials at the nanometer scale. However AFM-based measurements of chemistry and chemical properties of materials were generally not possible, until now.
“AFM-IR is a new technique for measuring infrared absorption at the nanometer scale,” explained William P. King, an Abel Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at Illinois. “The first AFM-based measurements could measure the size and shape of nanometer-scale structures. Over the years, researchers improved AFM to measure mechanical properties and electrical properties on the nanometer scale.
“These infrared absorption properties provide information about chemical bonding in a material sample, and these infrared absorption properties can be used to identify the material,” added King, who is also the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems at Illinois. “The polymer nanostructures are about an order of magnitude smaller than those measured previously.”
The ability to measure the chemical composition of polymer nanostructures is important for a variety of applications, including semiconductors, composite materials, and medical diagnostics.
The authors on the research are Jonathan Felts, Hanna Cho, Min-Feng Yu, Lawrence Bergman, Alex Vakakis, and William P. King. The article is available online.
Contact: William King, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-3864.
If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, editor, Engineering Communications Office, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-7716.