Characterisation At Nanoscale

In order to understand, quantify and classify nanostructures and nanomaterials they must be fully characterised. The various methods used to classify nanomaterials can give important information related to structure, electrical, chemical and optical properties. Moreover these tools can also be employed to study the integration of nanomaterials into bio-systems and sensors and to test aspects such as toxicology, specificity and reactivity.

The Centre for Nanohealth (CNH) has made a significant investment into state of the art instruments that span the micron to atomic size range and can reveal the intimate interactions of atoms & molecules on the nanoscale.

Moreover the Centre’s diverse range of characterisation platforms work in various environments, such as liquid, air, vacuum and other controlled gaseous ambients. As the majority of the techniques are non-destructive it is possible to utilise them on the same sample, thus providing a wealth of information.

The Centre’s Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM) suite is used to assess and guide the development of sensors for measuring disease markers. The Centre also offers an atomic force microscope system dedicated to the study of surface electrical properties. This system, for example, is used in mapping conductivity across a biosensor surface coated with an electrically active protein.

Other imaging platforms within the Centre bring together Scanning Near field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) and Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) to probe biological interfaces for their chemical activity. This builds on the Centre’s wealth of experience in the application of quantum dots for imaging.

The advanced imaging capabilities are completed by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) which features an AFM instrument coupled with a confocal microscope to optimise the analysis of biological systems in terms of their morphology and interactions. The confocal instrument allows identification of cell surface regions prior to AFM analysis. This hybrid instrument is routinely used to examine the structure of cells and in more advanced application to measure their mechanical properties and adhesive interactions often a key marker of disease state.

The Centre is equipped to meet all your characterisation needs.