APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) characterization of materials in a liquid environment
- Mitigates water condensation issues in an earlier design for improved performance
A low damping force sensor for operation in liquid, intended for use with atomic force microscopes (AFMs) or other mechanical sensors in liquid, has been improved to maintain high performance longer during operation.
The original sensor design consisted of encased cantilevers in which a hollow encasement surrounds a mechanical resonator. When in water, the encasement traps air and the mechanical resonator oscillates in a lower viscosity environment, improving the detection of vibrational properties. A portion of the resonator protrudes through the encasement to interact with the environment. The sensor reduces damping losses and yields a higher quality factor and resonance frequency, enabling the use of AFM to measure the surface of soft materials, such as living cells. However, condensation inside the encasement can dampen the oscillator during operation.
In the updated design, the strategic addition of holes in the device’s encasement manages condensation. By solving the issue of condensation within encased cantilevers, this technology serves a rapidly growing market supporting AFM in material sciences, data storage, nanofabrication and biology / biotechnology.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THIS OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
Low Damping Force Sensor for Operation in Liquids IB-3051