Group of electron microscopy

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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.


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