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Nanoscale Characterization Techniques and Applications

Monday June 13, 2011, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Boston, Massachusetts

Technology Focus

The focus of this course is nanoscale characterization techniques and applications with a particular emphasis on Atomic Force Microscopy, and the use of X-Ray light.

Nanoscale Characterization with Atomic Force Microscopy

Basics (1h)

  • Principles of imaging surfaces with AFM; magnitude of error, practical misconceptions
  • Quasistatic and dynamic modes; domains of application, pitfalls
  • Metrics of surface topography; examples of technological surface analysis

Compositionally sensitive methods (1h)

  • Shear forces, revealing crystallinity and disorder
  • Phase imaging for high spatial resolution on delicate samples; physical interpretations and corresponding misconceptions
  • Distance-dependent forces; liquid environments and chain molecule conformational states

Advanced methods (1h)

  • Spatially resolved distance-dependent forces for high information content; measurements of thickness/swelling in thin polymer films
  • Environmental AFM (variable T and RH); qualitative and quantitative transformations in material behavior at high T and RH; motivations in revealing structure/behavior and in end applications
  • Quantitative physical property analysis (tribological, mechanical, electromagnetic)
  • Newer methods: multifrequency dynamic modes including single-pass kelvin probe, and digital pulsed force mode / peak force tapping; practical sample analysis

Who should attend?

The course is aimed at students, scientists (chemistry, physics, materials, biology) and engineers (chemical, mechanical, biomedical) in research and development of processes involving soft materials, polymer/surfactant thin films, natural and synthetic biomaterials and biofilms, polymeric coatings and composites, organic semiconductors.

Characterization of sub micron size objects using x-ray light

Basics (1h)

  • Advantages and drawbacks of x-ray light
  • Principles of small angle xray scattering
  • Main field of applications

X-ray sources: modern laboratory versus synchrotron

  • Experimental setup
  • Optics, detectors, sample environment

Main body (1.5h)

  • Data analysis
  • Instrumental correction: absolute intensity often matters!

Application to nanotechnology

  • Principal models
  • Critical dimensions determination

Extension (0.5h)

  • Where micro-structure meets molecular architecture: Combined SAXS and WAXS
  • When surface organization can be probed as an ensemble: Grazing incidence SAXS
  • Pushing the limits toward the micron regime: Ultra SAXS

Who should attend?

The course is aimed at students, scientists (chemistry and physics) and engineers (chemical -mechanical) in research and development of processes involving fine particles, soft materials, cosmetics, liquids, surfactants, biological and proteins solutions, polymeric films, ordered nano-objects as such as gratings, self-organized molecular super architectures, pyrolitic particles.

Course Instructors

Greg Haugstad

Greg Haugstad is technical staff member and director of the Characterization Facility (“CharFac”;, a core facility at the University of Minnesota. The CharFac is closely affiliated with the University’s (1) NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, especially as a member of the national-reach Materials Research Facilities Network (, and (2) Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering ( Dr. Haugstad received his B.A. in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota. His doctoral research explored metal-semiconductor interfaces with synchrotron radiation and cryogenic methods. After postdoctoral research with DuPont in the University’s NSF Center for Interfacial Engineering, he joined the CharFac in 1994. In this role his technique focus includes atomic force microscopy (AFM), ion beam analysis (Rutherford backscattering and related) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. His teaching has included curricular courses at PhD, undergraduate, and technical-college levels, as well as ~500 user trainings and several local and national-reach short courses. He is also a member of the graduate faculty, serving as thesis co-adviser within the materials science and chemistry programs, and currently a PI in NSF-funded research on organic semiconductors.

Greg's research program includes thrusts in (i) special AFM methods, (ii) nanotribology, (iii) thin films (polymer, surfactant, biological), and (iv) drug release coatings / pharmaceutics. He has over seventy publications and is a frequent participant in multidisciplinary symposia and workshops with the common thread of AFM methods. His industrial collaboration and consulting has included companies spanning medical imaging, aviation devices, personal care products, ocular materials, medical device coatings and analytical instrumentation.

Pierre Panine

Pierre Panine is recently appointed as senior scientist in Xenocs SA in Sassenage, France, a spin-off company from Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble, France. His field of expertise is the application of x-ray to structural characterization of materials, soft matter and biological systems. He obtained his PhD in physics at the University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble. His doctoral research was focused in the field of polymeric membrane science, using broad ranges of characterization techniques like NMR, spectroscopy and microscopy. After a short passage in the renal care HOSPAL R&D center in Lyon, France, he integrated the Soft Condensed Matter group of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (E.S.R.F.), Grenoble, France. His research program was focused on large scale structure in self assembled materials, polymeric solutions, surfactants and mechanisms of molecular ordering under controlled mechanical conditions. He has over 35 peer-reviewed publications and had teaching duties at doctoral level at the university Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, directly related to practical use of small angle and wide angle x-ray scattering with synchrotron radiation instruments.

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