[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we demonstrate the increased performance in speed and sensitivity achieved by the use of small AFM cantilevers on a standard AFM system. For this, small rectangular silicon oxynitride cantilevers were utilized to arrive at faster atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging times and more sensitive molecular recognition force spectroscopy (MRFS) experiments. The cantilevers we used had lengths between 13 and 46 μm, a width of about 11 μm, and a thickness between 150 and 600 nm. They were coated with chromium and gold on the backside for a better laser reflection. We characterized these small cantilevers through their frequency spectrum and with electron microscopy. Due to their small size and high resonance frequency we were able to increase the imaging speed by a factor of 10 without any loss in resolution for images from several μm scansize down to the nanometer scale. This was shown on bacterial surface layers (s-layer) with tapping mode under aqueous, near physiological conditions and on nuclear membranes in contact mode in ambient environment. In addition, we showed that single molecular forces can be measured with an up to 5 times higher force sensitivity in comparison to conventional cantilevers with similar spring constants.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Modern high-speed atomic force microscopes generate significant quantities of data in a short amount of time. Each image in the sequence has to be processed quickly and accurately in order to obtain a true representation of the sample and its changes over time. This paper presents an automated, adaptive algorithm for the required processing of AFM images. The algorithm adaptively corrects for both common one-dimensional distortions as well as the most common two-dimensional distortions. This method uses an iterative thresholded processing algorithm for rapid and accurate separation of background and surface topography. This separation prevents artificial bias from topographic features and ensures the best possible coherence between the different images in a sequence. This method is equally applicable to all channels of AFM data, and can process images in seconds.
Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 01/2012; 3:747-58. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) is a direct-writing technique with nanometer resolution, which has received strongly increasing attention within the last decade. In FEBID a precursor previously adsorbed on a substrate surface is dissociated in the focus of an electron beam. After 20 years of continuous development FEBID has reached a stage at which this technique is now particularly attractive for several areas in both, basic and applied research. The present topical review addresses selected examples that highlight this development in the areas of charge-transport regimes in nanogranular metals close to an insulator-to-metal transition, the use of these materials for strain- and magnetic-field sensing, and the prospect of extending FEBID to multicomponent systems, such as binary alloys and intermetallic compounds with cooperative ground states.Results: After a brief introduction to the technique, recent work concerning FEBID of Pt-Si alloys and (hard-magnetic) Co-Pt intermetallic compounds on the nanometer scale is reviewed. The growth process in the presence of two precursors, whose flux is independently controlled, is analyzed within a continuum model of FEBID that employs rate equations. Predictions are made for the tunability of the composition of the Co-Pt system by simply changing the dwell time of the electron beam during the writing process. The charge-transport regimes of nanogranular metals are reviewed next with a focus on recent theoretical advancements in the field. As a case study the transport properties of Pt-C nanogranular FEBID structures are discussed. It is shown that by means of a post-growth electron-irradiation treatment the electronic intergrain-coupling strength can be continuously tuned over a wide range. This provides unique access to the transport properties of this material close to the insulator-to-metal transition. In the last part of the review, recent developments in mechanical strain-sensing and the detection of small, inhomogeneous magnetic fields by employing nanogranular FEBID structures are highlighted.Conclusion: FEBID has now reached a state of maturity that allows a shift of the focus towards the development of new application fields, be it in basic research or applied. This is shown for selected examples in the present review. At the same time, when seen from a broader perspective, FEBID still has to live up to the original idea of providing a tool for electron-controlled chemistry on the nanometer scale. This has to be understood in the sense that, by providing a suitable environment during the FEBID process, the outcome of the electron-induced reactions can be steered in a controlled way towards yielding the desired composition of the products. The development of a FEBID-specialized surface chemistry is mostly still in its infancy. Next to application development, it is this aspect that will likely be a guiding light for the future development of the field of focused electron beam induced deposition.
Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 01/2012; 3:597-619. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fracture resistance of biomineralized tissues such as bone, dentin, and abalone is greatly enhanced through the nanoscale interactions of stiff inorganic mineral components with soft organic adhesive components. A proper understanding of the interactions that occur within the organic component, and between the organic and inorganic components, is therefore critical for a complete understanding of the mechanics of these tissues. In this paper, we use Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) force spectroscopy and dynamic force spectroscopy to explore the effect of ionic interactions within a nanoscale system consisting of networks of Dentin Matrix Protein 1 (DMP1) (a component of both bone and dentin organic matrix), a mica surface, and an AFM tip. We find that DMP1 is capable of dissipating large amounts of energy through an ion-mediated mechanism, and that the effectiveness increases with increasing ion valence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bone diagnostic instrument (BDI) is being developed with the long-term goal of providing a way for researchers and clinicians to measure bone material properties of human bone in vivo. Such measurements could contribute to the overall assessment of bone fragility in the future. Here, we describe an improved BDI, the Osteoprobe IItrade mark. In the Osteoprobe IItrade mark, the probe assembly, which is designed to penetrate soft tissue, consists of a reference probe (a 22 gauge hypodermic needle) and a test probe (a small diameter, sharpened rod) which slides through the inside of the reference probe. The probe assembly is inserted through the skin to rest on the bone. The distance that the test probe is indented into the bone can be measured relative to the position of the reference probe. At this stage of development, the indentation distance increase (IDI) with repeated cycling to a fixed force appears to best distinguish bone that is more easily fractured from bone that is less easily fractured. Specifically, in three model systems, in which previous mechanical testing and/or tests reported here found degraded mechanical properties such as toughness and postyield strain, the BDI found increased IDI. However, it must be emphasized that, at this time, neither the IDI nor any other mechanical measurement by any technique has been shown clinically to correlate with fracture risk. Further, we do not yet understand the mechanism responsible for determining IDI beyond noting that it is a measure of the continuing damage that results from repeated loading. As such, it is more a measure of plasticity than elasticity in the bone.
Review of Scientific Instruments 07/2008; 79(6):064303. · 1.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using an atomic force microscope and a surface force apparatus, we measured the surface coverage, adhesion, and mechanical properties of layers of osteopontin (OPN), a phosphoprotein of the human bones, adsorbed on mica. OPN is believed to connect mineralized collagen fibrils of the bone in a matrix that dissipates energy, reducing the risk of fractures. Atomic force microscopy normal force measurements showed large adhesion and energy dissipation upon retraction of the tip, which were due to the breaking of the many OPN-OPN and OPN-mica bonds formed during tip-sample contact. The dissipated energy increased in the presence of Ca(2+) ions due to the formation of additional OPN-OPN and OPN-mica salt bridges between negative charges. The forces measured by surface force apparatus between two macroscopic mica surfaces were mainly repulsive and became hysteretic only in the presence of Ca(2+): adsorbed layers underwent an irreversible compaction during compression due to the formation of long-lived calcium salt bridges. This provides an energy storage mechanism, which is complementary to energy dissipation and may be equally relevant to bone recovery after yield. The prevalence of one mechanism or the other appears to depend on the confinement geometry, adsorption protocol, and loading-unloading rates.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Formulating effective coatings for use in nano- and biotechnology poses considerable technical challenges. If they are to provide abrasion resistance, coatings must be hard and adhere well to the underlying substrate. High hardness, however, comes at the expense of extensibility. This property trade-off makes the design of coatings for even moderately compliant substrates problematic, because substrate deformation easily exceeds the strain limit of the coating. Although the highest strain capacity of synthetic fibre coatings is less than 10%, deformable coatings are ubiquitous in biological systems. With an eye to heeding the lessons of nature, the cuticular coatings of byssal threads from two species of marine mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis and Perna canaliculus, have been investigated. Consistent with their function to protect collagenous fibres in the byssal-thread core, these coatings show hardness and stiffness comparable to those of engineering plastics and yet are surprisingly extensible; the tensile failure strain of P. canaliculus cuticle is about 30% and that of M. galloprovincialis is a remarkable 70%. The difference in extensibility is attributable to the presence of deformable microphase-separated granules within the cuticle of M. galloprovincialis. The results have important implications in the design of bio-inspired extensible coatings.
Nature Material 10/2007; 6(9):669-72. · 35.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the nanocomposite bone, inorganic material is combined with several types of organic molecules, and these complexes have been proposed to increase the bone strength. Here we report on a mechanism of how one of these components, human osteopontin, forms large mechanical networks that can repeatedly dissipate energy through work against entropy by breaking sacrificial bonds and stretching hidden length. The behavior of these in vitro networks is similar to that of organic components in bone, acting as an adhesive layer in between mineralized fibrils.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite its inherent mechanical fragility, silica is widely used as a skeletal material in a great diversity of organisms ranging from diatoms and radiolaria to sponges and higher plants. In addition to their micro- and nanoscale structural regularity, many of these hard tissues form complex hierarchically ordered composites. One such example is found in the siliceous skeletal system of the Western Pacific hexactinellid sponge, Euplectella aspergillum. In this species, the skeleton comprises an elaborate cylindrical lattice-like structure with at least six hierarchical levels spanning the length scale from nanometers to centimeters. The basic building blocks are laminated skeletal elements (spicules) that consist of a central proteinaceous axial filament surrounded by alternating concentric domains of consolidated silica nanoparticles and organic interlayers. Two intersecting grids of non-planar cruciform spicules define a locally quadrate, globally cylindrical skeletal lattice that provides the framework onto which other skeletal constituents are deposited. The grids are supported by bundles of spicules that form vertical, horizontal and diagonally ordered struts. The overall cylindrical lattice is capped at its upper end by a terminal sieve plate and rooted into the sea floor at its base by a flexible cluster of barbed fibrillar anchor spicules. External diagonally oriented spiral ridges that extend perpendicular to the surface further strengthen the lattice. A secondarily deposited laminated silica matrix that cements the structure together additionally reinforces the resulting skeletal mass. The mechanical consequences of each of these various levels of structural complexity are discussed.
Journal of Structural Biology 05/2007; 158(1):93-106. · 3.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The topography of freshly fractured bovine and human bone surfaces was determined by the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM). Fracture surfaces from both kinds of samples exhibited complex landscapes formed by hydroxyapatite mineral platelets with lateral dimensions ranging from ∼90 nm × 60 nm to ∼20 nm × 20 nm. Novel AFM techniques were used to study these fracture surfaces during various chemical treatments. Significant topographical changes were observed following exposure to aqueous solutions of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) or highly concentrated sodium fluoride (NaF). Both treatments resulted in the apparent loss of the hydroxyapatite mineral platelets on a timescale of a few seconds. Collagen fibrils situated beneath the overlying mineral platelets were clearly exposed and could be resolved with high spatial resolution in the acquired AFM images. Time-dependent mass loss experiments revealed that the applied agents (NaF or EDTA) had very different resulting effects. Despite the fact that the two treatments exhibited nearly identical results following examination by AFM, bulk bone samples treated with EDTA exhibited a ∼70% mass loss after 72 h, whereas for the NaF-treated samples, the mass loss was only of the order of ∼10%. These results support those obtained from previous mechanical testing experiments, suggesting that enhanced formation of superficial fluoroapatite dramatically weakens the protein-hydroxyapatite interfaces. Additionally, we discovered that treatment with aqueous solutions of NaF resulted in the effective extraction of noncollagenous proteins from bone powder.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sandcastle worms Phragmatopoma californica build mound-like reefs by sticking together large numbers of sand grains with cement secreted from the building organ. The cement consists of protein plus substantial amounts of calcium and magnesium, which are not invested in any mineral form. This study examined the effect of calcium and magnesium depletion on the structural and mechanical properties of the cement. Divalent ion removal by chelating with EDTA led to a partial collapse of cement architecture and cement dislodgement from silica surfaces. Mechanical properties examined were sand grain pull-out force, tube resistance to compression and cement adhesive force. EDTA treatment reduced sand grain pull-out forces by 60% and tube compressive strength by 50% relative to controls. EDTA lowered both the maximal adhesive force and energy dissipation of cement by up to an order of magnitude. The adhesiveness of calcium- and magnesium-depleted cement could not be restored by re-exposure to the ions. The results suggest that divalent ions play a complex and multifunctional role in maintaining the structure and stickiness of Phragmatopoma cement.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mechanical testing of trabecular bone is mainly motivated by the huge impact of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and the aged in society in terms of social and health care costs. Trabecular bone loss and impairment of its mechanical properties reduce bone strength and increase fracture risk, especially in vertebrae. It is generally accepted that in addition to bone mineral density, microarchitecture and material properties of bone also play important roles for bone strength and fracture risk. In order to overcome the limitations of standard mechanical tests delivering merely integral information about complicated samples, experiments were designed for step-wise mechanical testing with concurrent imaging of trabecular and cortical bone. In this communication we present an approach for real-time imaging of trabecular bone during compression using high-speed photography and investigate the hypothesis whether the whitening of deformed trabeculae is due to microdamage. Experiments on human trabecular bone samples from a healthy male donor revealed that failure of such samples is highly localized in fracture bands. Moreover, strongly deformed trabeculae were seen to whiten, an effect similar to stress whitening in polymers. Scanning Electron Microscopy of the same regions of interest revealed that whitened trabeculae were strongly damaged by microscopic cracks and mostly failed in delamination. Higher resolution images uncovered mineralized collagen fibrils spanning the cracks. The whitening partially faded after unloading of the samples, presumably due to partial crack closure. Overall, high-speed photography enables microdamage detection in real-time during a mechanical test and provides a correlation to recorded stress strain curves.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new scanner design for a high-speed atomic force microscope (AFM) is presented and discussed in terms of modeling and control. The lowest resonance frequency of this scanner is above 22 kHz. The X and Y scan ranges are 13 micrometers and the Z range is 4.3 micrometers. The focus of this contribution is on the vertical positioning direction of the scanner, being the crucial axis of motion with the highest bandwidth and precision requirements for gentle imaging with the atomic force microscope. A mathematical model of the scanner dynamics is presented that will enable more accurate topography measurements with the high-speed AFM system
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sacrificial bonds and hidden length in structural molecules and composites have been found to greatly increase the fracture toughness of biomaterials by providing a reversible, molecular-scale energy-dissipation mechanism. This mechanism relies on the energy, of order 100 eV, needed to reduce entropy and increase enthalpy as molecular segments are stretched after being released by the breaking of weak bonds, called sacrificial bonds. This energy is relatively large compared to the energy needed to break the polymer backbone, of order a few eV. In many biological cases, the breaking of sacrificial bonds has been found to be reversible, thereby additionally providing a "self-healing" property to the material. Due to the nanoscopic nature of this mechanism, single molecule force spectroscopy using an atomic force microscope has been a useful tool to investigate this mechanism. Especially when investigating natural molecular constructs, force versus distance curves quickly become very complicated. In this work we propose various types of sacrificial bonds, their combination, and how they appear in single molecule force spectroscopy measurements. We find that by close analysis of the force spectroscopy curves, additional information can be obtained about the molecules and their bonds to the native constructs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanical properties of healthy and diseased bone tissue were extensively studied in mechanical tests. Most of this research was motivated by the immense costs of health care and social impacts due to osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and the aged. Osteoporosis results in bone loss and change of trabecular architecture, causing a decrease in bone strength. To address the problem of assessing local failure behavior of bone, we combined mechanical compression testing of trabecular bone samples with high-speed photography. In this exploratory study, we investigated healthy, osteoarthritic, and osteoporotic human vertebral trabecular bone compressed at high strain rates. Apparent strains were found to transfer into to a broad range of local strains. Strained trabeculae were seen to whiten with increasing strain. Comparison of whitened regions seen in high-speed photography sequences with scanning electron micrographs showed that the observed whitening was due to the formation of microcracks. From the results of a motion energy filter applied to the recorded movies, we saw that the whitened areas are, presumably, also areas of high deformation. In summary, high-speed photography allows the detection of microdamage in real time, leading toward a better understanding of the local processes involved in bone failure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone is a complex and very important multi-constituent bio-composite. In this work, we focus on the arrangement of bone constituents from the nanoscopic to the microscopic scale, and investigate the influence of their arrangements on the fracture mechanisms of the whole composite. We find that bone, on the nanoscopic scale, consists of mineralized collagen fibrils held together by a non-fibrillar organic matrix, which results in a primary failure mode of delamination between mineralized fibrils. In turn, these mineralized fibrils form one of three types of filaments that span microcracks in fractured bone samples, possibly resisting the propagation of these cracks.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many applications in materials science, life science and process control would benefit from atomic force microscopes (AFM) with higher scan speeds. To achieve this, the performance of many of the AFM components has to be increased. In this work, we focus on the cantilever sensor, the scanning unit and the data acquisition. We manufactured 10 microm wide cantilevers which combine high resonance frequencies with low spring constants (160-360 kHz with spring constants of 1-5 pN/nm). For the scanning unit, we developed a new scanner principle, based on stack piezos, which allows the construction of a scanner with 15 microm scan range while retaining high resonance frequencies (>10 kHz). To drive the AFM at high scan speeds and record the height and error signal, we implemented a fast Data Acquisition (DAQ) system based on a commercial DAQ card and a LabView user interface capable of recording 30 frames per second at 150 x 150 pixels.