Group of electron microscopy

Department of functioning of living systems

Head: Ekaterina Obraztsova, Ph.D.
e.a.obraztsova@gmail.com

Electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, nanostructures, biomacromolecules, bioimaging

Electron and scanning probe microscopy methods have already become routine instruments in laboratory research. Currently, the main interest of scientists in this field is focused on the continuous development of methods for samples deposition, preparing substrates and probes for improvement of quality and reproducibility of the results, expanding the scope of applicability of microscopy methods.

Thus, the development of super-sharp probes for  atomic force microscopy made it possible to visualize the details of DNA molecules and proteins and their constituent parts. New methods for the preparation of substrates made it possible to apply biological objects without changing their structure to obtain their true image. Various laboratories are conducting research aimed at using films and nano-thickness grids as substrates for electron microscopy. This will increase the contrast and information content of images, avoid contrasting.

In our group, we concentrate our efforts on the development of new approaches in electron and atomic force microscopy of biological objects using nanostructured materials.

During several years the group of electron microscopy research was aimed at a more effective use of the atomic force microscopy method for visualizing biomacromolecules. Previously, we have empirically determined the conditions for obtaining nanostructures at the tips of standard atomic force microscopy probes, which made it possible to improve the resolution of the method by about an order of magnitude (from 15–20 nm to ~ 2 nm). In 2018, we completed a study of the physical properties of these structures, explaining the growth mechanisms and efficiency in microscopy. Based on the results of work, an article was published in the journal Ultramicroscopy, which is part of 1 quartile. In 2017, 2 reports were presented at conferences.

 

The synthesis takes place using the method of gas-phase chemical deposition activated by plasma. Statistical analysis of electron microscopy images shows that the growth rate of branched nanostructured spikes is of the order of 100 nm / h. The radius of curvature of the resulting structures is 1-2 nm. The results of a study of the obtained probes by Raman scattering showed that the branched structures consist of amorphous carbon and, likely, glassy carbon, taking into account high mechanical characteristics.Dostizhenie_gr._el._mikr._figures_1.jpg

All publications (show selected)

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Ekaterina Obraztsova

Ultrasharp probes for biomolecules atomic force microscopy

During the last years electron microscopy group has been working on the efficient use of atomic force microscopy for visualization of biomacromolecules. Previously, we have determined empirically the conditions for obtaining nanostructures on the tips of standard atomic force microscope probes, which improve the resolution of the method by an order of magnitude (from 15-20 nm to ~ 2 nm). In 2018, we completed a study of the physical properties of these structures, explaining the growth mechanisms and efficiency in microscopy. According to the results of work in 2018, an article was published in the journal Ultramicroscopy, included in 1 quartile. In 2017, 2 papers were presented at conferences.

Synthesis takes place using the method of gas-phase chemical deposition, activated by plasma. Statistical analysis of electron microscopy images shows that the growth rate of branched nanostructures is about 100 nm / hour. The tip radius of the obtained structures is 1-2 nm. The results of the study of the probes obtained by the method of Raman scattering show that the branched structures consist of amorphous carbon, apparently, similar to glassy carbon, since they have high mechanical characteristics.

Publications

  1. Obraztsova EA, Basmanov DV, Barinov NA, Klinov DV (2018). Carbon Nanospikes: Synthesis, characterization and application for high resolution AFM. Ultramicroscopy 197, 11–15