Control Engineers of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, in collaboration with colleagues from the Jülich Research Center, have developed a method for measuring the electrical potentials of molecules and molecular surfaces with previously unattainable precision and speed.
With what is known as Scanning Quantum Dot Microscopy, they have, for the first time, succeeded in creating high resolution maps of molecular electrical potentials, i.e. the electric fields that surround all matter, within just a few minutes.
The research results have just been published in the internationally renowned journal, Nature Materials.
“All matter consists of positively charged atomic nuclei and negatively charged electrons,” explains Professor Dr.-Ing. Rolf Findeisen from the Institute of Automation Technology at the University of Magdeburg. “These generate electrical potentials. Using conventional methods, until now it has been barely possible to measure these very weak fields, which are responsible for many of the characteristics and functionalities of materials.”
With the newly developed Scanning Quantum Dot Microscopy, a single molecule, known as a quantum dot, is mounted on the tip of the needle of a scanning force microscope. This tip travels, like the needle of a record player, over the sample with the molecule at temperatures close to absolute zero and thus, step by step creates a coherent representation of the surface.
Together with his doctoral student, Michael Maiworm, Professor Rolf Findeisen developed a controller for the innovative microscope method an algorithm that controls the scanning process. This makes the accurate, but until now extremely long-winded measurement of potentials at molecular resolution possible in just a few minutes. “With the new controller we can now easily scan the entire surface of a molecule, as with a normal scanning force microscope,” says Christian Wagner from the Jülich Research Center. This enables us to produce high-resolution images of the potential, which previously appeared unattainable.
“There are many possible uses for this new, unusually precise and fast microscopy technique,” continues Michael Maiworm, who largely developed the controller as part of his dissertation supervised by Professor Findeisen. “They range from fundamental physical questions to semiconductor electronics – where even a single atom can be critical for functionality – and molecular chemical reactors to the characterization of biomolecules such as our DNA or biological surfaces.”
The work is a part of the cooperation between Magdeburg and Jülich, which examines the targeted and automated manipulation of objects at nano level. In this connection the molecular tip has a dual function: it is simultaneously both a measuring probe and a tool. This opens up the possibility of, in future, being able to create nanostructures via 3D printing. It is conceivable, for example, that it might be possible to produce electrical circuits consisting of individual molecules or sensors of molecular dimension and resolution.
The Latest on: Molecular microscopy
via Google News
The Latest on: Molecular microscopy
- New Algorithm Sharpens Focus of World's Most Powerful Microscopeson October 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Scientists have shown that an algorithm added to image processing software can improve the resolution and accuracy of cryo-electron microscopes, which are one of the most crucial tools in microbiology ...
- Biology: First detailed look at how molecular Ferris wheel delivers protons to cellular factorieson October 7, 2020 at 1:17 pm
ATPase at work. These pumps are embedded in the membranes of cellular organelles, where they bring in protons that are essential for the… view more Credit Image: From the labs of S.-H. Roh and S.
- Optical refractive index of live cells could have use as molecular probeson October 7, 2020 at 11:30 am
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (La Jolla, CA) have discovered how to use the cephalopod proteins responsible for the instant color and iridescence changes displayed in ...
- Microscope lens inspired by lighthouse (TDnews)on October 5, 2020 at 8:27 am
Photo: The thin and cost-effective lens is 3D printed and has the capacity to put live cells under the microscope, which would significantly improve diagnostics. view more Credit Image: © 2020 KAUST; ...
- Microscope Lens Inspired by Lighthouse Provides Many Benefitson October 5, 2020 at 7:09 am
New lens provides benefits similar to those currently used with SRS microscopes, but at a fraction of the cost ...
- Combining AI and Nanotechnology to Create Robot-Assisted Molecular Manipulationon October 5, 2020 at 5:15 am
A team of scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and TU Berlin is working on a project to create an autonomous artificial intelligence system with the ability to pick up and move individual ...
- Exploiting molecular vibrations to synthesize conducting polymerson October 5, 2020 at 4:35 am
Conjugated polymers are organic macromolecules that are characterized by a backbone chain of alternating double and single bonds. Their overlapping p-orbitals create a cloud of delocalised π-electrons ...
- Custom fabricated microscope lens inspired by lighthouseon October 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm
An optical device that resembles a miniaturized lighthouse lens can make it easier to peer into Petri dishes and observe molecular-level details of biological processes, including cancer cell growth.
- We'll find E.T. with a molecule, not a messageon October 2, 2020 at 10:49 am
To their surprise and delight, they found traces of that molecule, at a level of about 20 parts per billion, mixed in with the planet's acidic clouds. On Earth, phosphine is primarily generated by ...
- How We Will Really Find E.T. — Not with a Message, But with a Moleculeon October 1, 2020 at 7:55 am
The grand discovery of alien life is likely to come in the form of frustratingly subtle chemical clues.
via Bing News