Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Fabrication of tips for scanning probe microscopy with enhanced resolution

Posted by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

CSIC has developed tips for scanning probe microscopy (SPM) where an isolated nanoparticle is placed
at the apex of the tip. The method allows to tailor the shape, size and composition of the nanoparticle
improving the measuring capabilities of the tips. These novel tips are suitable for techniques that
combine imaging, such as SPM and spectroscopy like tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS).

Industrial partners manufacturers of laboratory equipment are being sought to collaborate through a
patent license agreement.

An offer for Patent Licensing

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Overcoming the limitations of current TERS


AFM tip coated with Au nanoparticles TERS brings Raman spectroscopy into nanoscale resolution imaging. The key in TERS is a properly enhancing probe. That´s the reason why many efforts have been focused on improving tip resolution being the deposition of nanoparticles a suitable way to improve it. However, there is yet the need of developing tips with suitable control of the size, shape, composition and interparticle distance of the nanostructured coating that can be implemented in a simple manner.
CSIC has developed a method to produce tips that comprise a cluster of single nanoparticle or a group of nanoparticles directly coated onto its apex, with no physical contact with the rest of nanoparticles of the tip. This arrangement of nanoparticles, where a precise control of particle size is achieved, provides a greater sensitivity and contrast, thanks to the excitation of localised surface plasmons at the tip apex of a single nanoparticle. Besides, the nanoparticle acts as a resonant dipole antenna, enhancing the Raman scattering, improving the signal-to-noise ratio and increasing spatial resolution.

Main innovations and advantages


· It eases the fabrication of tips for SPM with high resolution in a simpleand direct manner · In contrast with other methods, there is no need of physical orchemical pre-treatment before the deposition of nanoparticles in thetip.
· Nanoparticles of Au, Ag can be placed onto the tips.
· The method is suitable to be used in the fabrication of tips for manySPM technique such as: magnetic force microscopy, TERS, nanoinfrared microscopy, kelvin probe force microscopy, piezoresponseforce microscopy or scanning capacitance microscopy.

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent
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European priority patent application filed suitable for international extension

Technology Owner

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Public Agency

Related keywords

  • Imaging, Image Processing, Pattern Recognition
  • Optical Materials
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Optical material testing
  • Optical Technology related to measurements
  • Amplifier, A/D Transducer
  • Computer related
  • Scanning Related
  • Other scanning related (including optical mark sensing and image processing)
  • Electronics Related Market
  • Analytical and Scientific Instrumentation
  • Chromatographs and related laboratory equipment (including spectrometers)
  • Other analytical and scientific instrumentation
  • Medical Health related
  • Medical imaging
  • Medical equipment
  • Laboratory equipment
  • microscopy
  • microscopy tips

About Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Public Agency from Spain

The Spanish National Research Council (in Spanish 'Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)') is a government agency for basic and applied scientific research.

It is the largest public research organization in Spain, with presence in all the Autonomous Communities through 126 centers and 145 associated units.

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