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AFM case study

27th July 2018


Dr Monica Schönenberger of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute with her JPK NanoWizard4 located in the Nano Imaging Lab at the University of Basel
JPK Instruments reports on how the Nano Imaging Lab of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute uses its NanoWizard 4 AFM system. 
 
Dr Monica Schönenberger has developed a flexible, professional service unit for atomic force microscopy (AFM). As a member of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) located at the University of Basel, she also teaches master and doctoral students to use scanning probe microscopy and gets involved in exciting new research projects. Her group performs analytical and user-related investigations on practically all kinds of surfaces. For this work, the Nano Imaging Lab (NI Lab) uses a JPK NanoWizard 4 system. This is because it provides not only multiple AFM imaging modes, but also analytical modes such as force spectroscopy measurements, force mapping and electrical modes. All experiments may be performed in a temperature-controlled environment either in air or liquid. As a user service lab, NI Lab's facilities are open to students and researchers of other scientific departments to perform measurements on their own samples after training. 
 
Dr Schönenberger talks about her work and reasons for choosing the JPK platform. "The motivation for me to use the NW4 is that, with almost any sample, I simultaneously get an image in both AC and QI modes without having to replace the cantilever! This is extremely time-saving and gives me a quick overview of the topography and the properties of the sample that I am investigating. We use the NanoWizard mainly for customer orders, but also for interdisciplinary projects financed by the Nano-Argovia Program of the SNI or to support and train PhDs and nanoscience students on the AFM in general.
 
"Compared to other AFMs in our labs, JPK's NanoWizard is the system with the largest Z-scanner range and closed-loop operation. Additional modes such as higher harmonics, FM, Kelvin, conductive AFM are unique for our JPK AFM. I perform measurements for instance in air and liquid on tablet formulations, hot melt extrusions, silk fibers and many more. The DirectDrive option is very helpful for highly sensitive approach and scanning with high aspect ratio and super sharp tips. HyperDrive imaging in liquid and temperature monitoring with the BioCell module is also quite useful for the observation of the glass transition temperature, Tg, and the melting point of certain materials."
 
One application where the NanoWizard 4 was used to achieve positive results in the study of temperature-induced surface effects on drug nanosuspensions has been published in the journal Pharmaceutical Research. Here, the AFM along with inverse gas chromatography and UV surface dissolution imaging were used together for the first time to assess pharmaceutical nanosuspensions that were obtained by wet milling. 




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