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1.  Exploring the retention properties of CaF2 nanoparticles as possible additives for dental care application with tapping-mode atomic force microscope in liquid 
Summary
Amplitude-modulation atomic force microscopy (AM-AFM) is used to determine the retention properties of CaF2 nanoparticles adsorbed on mica and on tooth enamel in liquid. From the phase-lag of the forced cantilever oscillation the local energy dissipation at the detachment point of the nanoparticle was determined. This enabled us to compare different as-synthesized CaF2 nanoparticles that vary in shape, size and surface structure. CaF2 nanoparticles are candidates for additives in dental care products as they could serve as fluorine-releasing containers preventing caries during a cariogenic acid attack on the teeth. We show that the adherence of the nanoparticles is increased on the enamel substrate compared to mica, independently of the substrate roughness, morphology and size of the particles.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.4
PMCID: PMC3896269  PMID: 24455460
AM-AFM in liquid; nanodentistry; nanoparticles
2.  Kelvin probe force microscopy of nanocrystalline TiO2 photoelectrodes 
Summary
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) provide a promising third-generation photovoltaic concept based on the spectral sensitization of a wide-bandgap metal oxide. Although the nanocrystalline TiO2 photoelectrode of a DSC consists of sintered nanoparticles, there are few studies on the nanoscale properties. We focus on the microscopic work function and surface photovoltage (SPV) determination of TiO2 photoelectrodes using Kelvin probe force microscopy in combination with a tunable illumination system. A comparison of the surface potentials for TiO2 photoelectrodes sensitized with two different dyes, i.e., the standard dye N719 and a copper(I) bis(imine) complex, reveals an inverse orientation of the surface dipole. A higher surface potential was determined for an N719 photoelectrode. The surface potential increase due to the surface dipole correlates with a higher DSC performance. Concluding from this, microscopic surface potential variations, attributed to the complex nanostructure of the photoelectrode, influence the DSC performance. For both bare and sensitized TiO2 photoelectrodes, the measurements reveal microscopic inhomogeneities of more than 100 mV in the work function and show recombination time differences at different locations. The bandgap of 3.2 eV, determined by SPV spectroscopy, remained constant throughout the TiO2 layer. The effect of the built-in potential on the DSC performance at the TiO2/SnO2:F interface, investigated on a nanometer scale by KPFM measurements under visible light illumination, has not been resolved so far.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.4.49
PMCID: PMC3701424  PMID: 23844348
atomic force microscopy (AFM); dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC); Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM); surface photovoltage (SPV); titanium dioxide (TiO2)
3.  Pure hydrogen low-temperature plasma exposure of HOPG and graphene: Graphane formation? 
Summary
Single- and multilayer graphene and highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) were exposed to a pure hydrogen low-temperature plasma (LTP). Characterizations include various experimental techniques such as photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy. Our photoemission measurement shows that hydrogen LTP exposed HOPG has a diamond-like valence-band structure, which suggests double-sided hydrogenation. With the scanning tunneling microscopy technique, various atomic-scale charge-density patterns were observed, which may be associated with different C–H conformers. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed graphene on SiO2 has a Raman spectrum in which the D peak to G peak ratio is over 4, associated with hydrogenation on both sides. A very low defect density was observed in the scanning probe microscopy measurements, which enables a reverse transformation to graphene. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed HOPG possesses a high thermal stability, and therefore, this transformation requires annealing at over 1000 °C.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.96
PMCID: PMC3556725  PMID: 23365799
graphane; HOPG; hydrogenation; plasma
4.  The role of the cantilever in Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements 
Summary
The role of the cantilever in quantitative Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is rigorously analyzed. We use the boundary element method to calculate the point spread function of the measuring probe: Tip and cantilever. The calculations show that the cantilever has a very strong effect on the absolute value of the measured contact potential difference even under ultra-high vacuum conditions, and we demonstrate a good agreement between our model and KPFM measurements in ultra-high vacuum of NaCl monolayers grown on Cu(111). The effect of the oscillating cantilever shape on the KPFM resolution and sensitivity has been calculated and found to be relatively small.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.29
PMCID: PMC3148059  PMID: 21977437
boundary elements method; cantilever; convolution; Kelvin probe force microscopy; point spread function
5.  Oriented growth of porphyrin-based molecular wires on ionic crystals analysed by nc-AFM 
Summary
The growth of molecular assemblies at room temperature on insulating surfaces is one of the main goals in the field of molecular electronics. Recently, the directed growth of porphyrin-based molecular wires on KBr(001) was presented. The molecule–surface interaction associated with a strong dipole moment of the molecules was sufficient to bind them to the surface; while a stabilization of the molecular assemblies was reached due to the intermolecular interaction by π–π binding. Here, we show that the atomic structure of the substrate can control the direction of the wires and consequently, complex molecular assemblies can be formed. The electronic decoupling of the molecules by one or two monolayers of KBr from the Cu(111) substrate is found to be insufficient to enable comparable growth conditions to bulk ionic materials.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.4
PMCID: PMC3045942  PMID: 21977413
directed growth; KBr; molecular wires; NaCl; nc-AFM; porphyrin; self assembly
6.  Scanning probe microscopy and related methods 
doi:10.3762/bjnano.1.18
PMCID: PMC3045922  PMID: 21977405

Results 1-6 (6)