Atomic Force Microscope (Park Systems XE 150 AFM)
For the topological analysis of our samples we have the Park XE 150 atomic force microscope. This system is attached to a Labram high-resolution spectrometer.
The Park AFM is equipped with a piezoelectric table to navigate on a sample with a precision of a few nanometer. Additionally, the navigation on a sample is further assisted by encoders. These encoders keep track of the table's absolute position to ensure that a region of interest of a sample can be found again.
With this system we measure the topography of nano systems with high spatial resolution. In its simplest application this system aims at combining the topological information of a sample (where is the nano particle, is a nanotube straight or curved) with Raman scattering or luminescence link.
More advanced is the method of tip-enhanced Raman scattering. In the near field of a metallic tip the Raman signal is amplified by several orders of magnitude. Using this trick single e.g. molecules can be detected or the spatial resolution can be increased to be even below the light's wavelength. The coupling of atomic force microscopy with Raman microscopy is a new experimental method in the area of nano systems, biomaterials, etc..