In December 2013 Dr Andrew Stapleton from the Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology was awarded a Catalyst Grant to pursue his research into Singled Walled Carbon Nanotube (SWCNT) tipped cantilevers for Advanced Atomic Force Microscopy and Current Mapping, a joint project with international scientific instrument manufacturer Bruker.
The project aims to significantly improve the resolution obtainable from Peak Force Tunnelling Atomic Force Microscopy (PF-TUNA) and increase the cantilever lifetime, in turn reducing the cost of operation. PF-TUNA is an imaging mode that was invented and developed by Bruker and allows the user to softly image the sample, retaining sample integrity, and most importantly allows the user to obtain a conductivity map of the sample surface. Conductivity mapping of advanced materials provides an important insight into the nanoscale electrochemical properties of the surface, a key indicator in electrical performance and corrosion properties of advanced surfaces.
Flinders University is one of only two Australian research institutes where PF-TUNA is available and where considerable expertise lies in the use of AFM. Working in close association with Bruker AFM Andrew will be able to integrate SWCNT tipped cantilevers into current AFM techniques. Bruker will be providing access to software parameters not typically available to any other research institute, paving the way for a much more useful and meaningful outcome for the growing advanced manufacturing industry. Andrew is already beginning to see promising results.
Catalyst grants are awarded to Early Career Researchers through the Premier’s Research and Industry Fund (PRIF) offering two rounds every year, the next will be in April 2014.