We present a novel approach to develop and process a microelectrode integrated in a standard AFM tip. The presented fabrication process allows the integration of an electroactive area at an exactly defined distance above of the end of a scanning probe tip and the subsequent remodeling and sharpening of the original AFM tip using a focused ion beam (FIB) technique (See ref 1 for patent information). Thus, the functionality of scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) can be integrated into any standard atomic force microscope (AFM). With the demonstrated approach, a precisely defined and constant distance between the microelectrode and the sample surface can be obtained, alternatively to the indirect determination of this distance usually applied in SECM experiments. Hence, a complete separation of the topographical information and the electrochemical signal is possible. The presented technique is a significant step toward electrochemical imaging with submicrometer electrodes as demonstrated by the development of the first integrated frame submicroelectrode.
Recent studies indicated that water treatment polymers such as poly(epichlorohydrin dimethylamine) (polyamine) and poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (polyDADMAC) may form N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) when in contact with chloramine water disinfectants. To minimize such potential risk and improve the polymer products, the mechanisms of how the polymers behave as NDMA precursors need to be elucidated. Direct chloramination of polymers and intermediate monomers in reagent water was conducted to probe the predominant mechanisms. The impact of polymer properties including polymer purity, polymer molecular weight and structure, residual dimethylamine (DMA), and other intermediate compounds involved in polymer synthesis, and reaction conditions such as pH, oxidant dose, and contact time on the NDMA formation potential (NDMA-FP) was investigated. Polymer degradation after reaction with chloramines was monitored at the molecular level using FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy. Overall, polyamines have greater NDMA-FP than polyDADMAC, and the NDMA formation from both polymers is strongly related to polymer degradation and DMA release during chloramination. Polyamines' tertiary amine chain ends play a major role in their NDMA-FP, while polyDADMACs' NDMA-FP is related to degradation of the quaternary ammonium ring group.
Surface topography and the enzyme activity of soft bioactive probes can be investigated simultaneously with a new technique. More about this method, a combination of atomic force and scanning electrochemical microscopy, can be found in the following Communication by C. Kranz et al.
Infrared spectroscopy in the 3-20 μm spectral window has evolved from a routine laboratory technique into a state-of-the-art spectroscopy and sensing tool by benefitting from recent progress in increasingly sophisticated spectra acquisition techniques and advanced materials for generating, guiding, and detecting mid-infrared (MIR) radiation. Today, MIR spectroscopy provides molecular information with trace to ultratrace sensitivity, fast data acquisition rates, and high spectral resolution catering to demanding applications in bioanalytics, for example, and to improved routine analysis. In addition to advances in miniaturized device technology without sacrificing analytical performance, selected innovative applications for MIR spectroscopy ranging from process analysis to biotechnology and medical diagnostics are highlighted in this review.
The direct qualitative and quantitative determination of mineral components in shale rocks is a problem that has not been satisfactorily resolved to date. Infrared spectroscopy (IR) is a non-destructive method frequently used in mineral identification, yet challenging due to the similarity of spectral features resulting from quartz, clay, and feldspar minerals. This study reports on a significant improvement of this methodology by combining infrared attenuated total reflection spectroscopy (IR-ATR) with partial least squares (PLS) regression techniques for classifying and quantifying various mineral components present in a number of different shale rocks. The developed multivariate classification model was calibrated using pure component mixtures of the most common shale minerals (i.e., kaolinite, illite, montmorillonite, calcite, and quartz). Using this model, the IR spectra of 11 real-world shale samples were analyzed and evaluated. Finally, the performance of the developed IR-ATR method was compared with results obtained via X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis.
The volume phase transition (VPT) behavior of individual thermally responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) (pNIPAm-co-AAc) hydrogel microparticles was studied by in-situ dynamic mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) and force spectroscopy during heating and cooling cycles. Hydrogel samples were prepared by electrostatic immobilization of microparticles to amine-modified gold surfaces. The AFM studies of particle deswelling were performed by varying the force applied on the particles during imaging as a function of the geometry and material of the AFM probe. Aluminum-coated silicon cantilevers were found to influence substantially the behavior of the particles during the VPT, leading to a significant shape change. Low force impact magnetic excitation of the AFM probe (MAC mode) during dynamic mode measurements resulted in an undisturbed deswelling behavior enabling observation of the expected volume changes of the particles without significant tip-sample interaction. Hence, MAC-mode AFM was determined to be the most suitable technique for in-situ AFM studies on volume and shape changes at single hydrogel particles during VPT. Elasticity measurements performed at single particles at temperatures below and above the VPT revealed a 15-fold increase in the Young's modulus after passing the VPT, indicating the transition from a soft, swollen network to a stiffer, deswollen state.
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