Sarfus Mapping Lite turns a conventional optical microscope into a nanoscale measuring device
February 16, 2012. — Nanolane, specialised in the development and commercialisation of nanomaterials characterisation systems, is bringing out an innovative measurement solution – Sarfus Mapping Lite – that fits in with any optical microscope setup functioning with reflected light. This product is for imaging nanometric objects such as nanotubes, nanowires, DNA strands, nanoparticles but most of all it allows for the measurement of thin films as well as surface treatment of nanometric thickness.
Easy to use, Sarfus Mapping Lite comprises a set of Surf slides onto which users can deposit their samples. Surfs replace ordinary microscope glass slides. Then, users handle their optical microscope as usual (like they are used to) apart from the fact that the contrast enhancement brought about by a Surf is such as to let them see nano-objects in the shape of films, tubes or particles directly through eyepieces (with the naked eye, that is). What has remained invisible to an optical microscope for so long is now revealed clearly.
The data conversion software included in the Sarfus Mapping Lite package takes a CCD camera-obtained 2D colour image and provides a 3D thickness map of a nanometric sample. To do so, the optical instrument – i.e. the optical microscope and colour camera combination – is being calibrated thanks to a series of nanometric step height standards (traceable to the ISO 17025 standard), which guarantees a detection limit that can be as good as 0.1nm (instrument-dependent). The benefits one gains from adding Sarfus Mapping Lite to a microscope as compared to existing nanocharacterisation/imaging tools have first and foremost to do with accessibility and user friendliness. Real-time image acquisition makes it possible to record ‘fast’ dynamic phenomena (camera-dependent), while a selectable field of view (ranging from a few µm² to several mm², depending on magnification) gives users the flexibility to study their samples globally – useful for locating regions of interest (ROIs) -, but also locally to investigate micro- to submicro-details. To top it all off, the technique is non-contact in nature and therefore truly non-destructive.
Applications are many: thin film characterisation (organics, inorganics, liquid crystals, lithography to name but a few), biological systems (biochips, biofilms, etc.) as well as many others, more fundamental research-related for instance: nanopatterns, Langmuir-Blodgett layers, SAMs and so forth.
Nanolane, the nanotechnologies department of Eolane, develops and commercialises ware and scientific instruments for the field of nanotechnologies. Eolane is an electronic manufacturing services (EMS) business whose 2400 staff working for its score of subsidiaries make an annual turnover of about 300 million Euro.
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