Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Magdeburg engineers revolutionize molecular microscopy

11.07.2019

Single molecules measure electrical potentials

Control Engineers of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, in collaboration with colleagues from the Jülich Research Center, have developed a method for measuring the electrical potentials of molecules and molecular surfaces with previously unattainable precision and speed.


With what is known as Scanning Quantum Dot Microscopy, they have, for the first time, succeeded in creating high resolution maps of molecular electrical potentials, i.e. the electric fields that surround all matter, within just a few minutes.

The research results have just been published in the internationally renowned journal, Nature Materials.

“All matter consists of positively charged atomic nuclei and negatively charged electrons,” explains Professor Dr.-Ing. Rolf Findeisen from the Institute of Automation Technology at the University of Magdeburg.

“These generate electrical potentials. Using conventional methods, until now it has been barely possible to measure these very weak fields, which are responsible for many of the characteristics and functionalities of materials.”

With the newly developed Scanning Quantum Dot Microscopy, a single molecule, known as a quantum dot, is mounted on the tip of the needle of a scanning force microscope. This tip travels, like the needle of a record player, over the sample with the molecule at temperatures close to absolute zero and thus, step by step creates a coherent representation of the surface.

Together with his doctoral student, Michael Maiworm, Professor Rolf Findeisen developed a controller for the innovative microscope method – an algorithm that controls the scanning process. This makes the accurate, but until now extremely long-winded measurement of potentials at molecular resolution possible in just a few minutes.

“With the new controller we can now easily scan the entire surface of a molecule, as with a normal scanning force microscope,” says Christian Wagner from the Jülich Research Center. This enables us to produce high-resolution images of the potential, which previously appeared unattainable.

“There are many possible uses for this new, unusually precise and fast microscopy technique,” continues Michael Maiworm, who largely developed the controller as part of his dissertation supervised by Professor Findeisen.

“They range from fundamental physical questions to semiconductor electronics - where even a single atom can be critical for functionality - and molecular chemical reactors to the characterization of biomolecules such as our DNA or biological surfaces.”

The work is a part of the cooperation between Magdeburg and Jülich, which examines the targeted and automated manipulation of objects at nano level. In this connection the molecular tip has a dual function: it is simultaneously both a measuring probe and a tool. This opens up the possibility of, in future, being able to create nanostructures via 3D printing. It is conceivable, for example, that it might be possible to produce electrical circuits consisting of individual molecules or sensors of molecular dimension and resolution.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Professor Dr.-Ing. Rolf Findeisen, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Institute of Automation Technology, Tel.: +49 391 67-58708, Email: rolf.findeisen@ovgu.de

Originalpublikation:

Quantitative imaging of electric surface potentials with single-atom sensitivity
Christian Wagner, Matthew. F. B. Green, Michael Maiworm, Philipp Leinen, Taner Esat, Nicola Ferri, Niklas Friedrich, Rolf Findeisen, Alexandre Tkatchenko, Ruslan Temirov, F. Stefan Tautz Nature Materials (published online 10 June 2019), DOI: 10.1038/s41563-019-0382-8

Weitere Informationen:

http://link.ovgu.de/naturepaper

Katharina Vorwerk | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-magdeburg.de/

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht On the way to printable organic light emitting diodes
11.07.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung

nachricht New technique allows real-time microscopy at high heat and loading
09.07.2019 | North Carolina State University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

Im Focus: Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts: Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled

An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.

Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...

Im Focus: The secret of mushroom colors

Mushrooms: Darker fruiting bodies in cold climates

The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...

Im Focus: First results of the new Alphatrap experiment

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg report the first result of the new Alphatrap experiment. They measured the bound-electron g-factor of highly charged (boron-like) argon ions with unprecedented precision of 9 digits. In comparison with a new highly accurate quantum electrodynamic calculation they found an excellent agreement on a level of 7 digits. This paves the way for sensitive tests of QED in strong fields like precision measurements of the fine structure constant α as well as the detection of possible signatures of new physics. [Physical Review Letters, 27 June 2019]

Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields and is the most precisely tested physical theory. It...

Im Focus: Experimental physicists redefine ultrafast, coherent magnetism

For the first time ever, experimental physicists have been able to influence the magnetic moment of materials in sync with their electronic properties. The coupled optical and magnetic excitation within one femtosecond corresponds to an acceleration by a factor of 200 and is the fastest magnetic phenomenon that has ever been observed.

Electronic properties of materials can be directly influenced via light absorption in under a femtosecond (10-15 seconds), which is regarded as the limit of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Puzzling on a quantum chessboard

10.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer WKI develops sustainable sandwich elements made from wood foam and textile-reinforced

10.07.2019 | Materials Sciences

Could vacuum physics be revealed by laser-driven microbubble?

10.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>