Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Santa Barbara, CA, United States

Time filter

Source Type

Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2013

Infrared spectroscopy is the most widely used technique for chemical characterization with a worldwide market of over $1B annually. Conventional infrared spectroscopy suffers, however, from fundamental spatial resolution limits that prohibit its application at the nanoscale. This has prevented widespread use of IR spectroscopy in the growing field of nanoscale materials. The atomic force microscope (AFM) on the other hand excels at nanometer level spatial resolution, but has lacked any robust technique for chemical characterization. A new technique was recently developed that combines AFM and infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) to provide chemical analysis on sub-100 nm length scales. This project aims to dramatically increase the sensitivity and range of samples that can be measured with the AFM-IR technique. These improvements will enable nanoscale chemical analysis on a wide range of samples including materials for energy generation and storage (for example organic photovoltaics) and biological materials under physiological conditions. This project involves a close collaboration between Anasys Instruments and Prof. Mikhail Belkin of the University of Texas at Austin. The project is developing a novel form of AFM-IR called Resonance Enhanced Infrared Nanospectroscopy (REINS) in which an IR light source is pulsed at a frequency corresponding to a resonant frequency of an AFM cantilever probe. This resonance enhancement enables nanoscale infrared spectroscopy on samples that have previously been beyond the detection limit of the AFM, down to the level of single molecular monolayers. In Phase I the team demonstrated the ability to enhance the sensitivity of AFM-IR chemical spectroscopy by 100X over previous performance. With this improved sensitivity, the team demonstrated chemical spectroscopy on extremely thin films, down to the scale of a single molecular monolayer. Among other accomplishments, the team also demonstrated the ability to extend AFM-IR capabilities to allow measurements in liquids, enabling nanoscale chemical analysis in physiological and electrolytic environments. In Phase II the team will develop a commercial prototype REINS AFM-IR system leveraging sensitivity and resolution accomplishments in Phase I. The project integrates infrared laser sources, high sensitivity AFM probes and AFM measurement control systems to enable push button nanoscale chemical spectroscopy on a robust commercial platform. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: This project will have wide ranging applications in many areas of materials and life sciences. The REINS instrument will provide researchers the ability to examine the chemical content of complex samples on length scales previously unavailable. This new tool will accelerate the development of novel materials for energy generation and storage and structural materials that are lighter and stronger, providing significant energy savings. The improved sensitivity developed during this project will also enable accelerated development of advanced coatings and functional nanostructures, materials where significant material and device capabilities originate from very thin chemical coatings. The REINS platform will also provide insights in biology and in biomedical areas due to the ability to perform IR spectroscopy with sub-cellular spatial resolution.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 976.73K | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Anasys Instruments and Prof Lynne Taylor of Purdue propose to develop nanoscale chemical characterization capabilities for drug formulation research This project will build on successful Phase I research demonstrating feasibility of atomic force microscope based infrared spectroscopy AFM IR in pharmaceutical applications This Phase II research will advance techniques for efficiently determining morphological and chemical properties of nanostructured drug formulations leading to improvements in drug solubility This project will overcome key limitations of existing characterization tools includin the limitations of current AFM IR technology The proposed research will provide a critical new characterization tool for pharmaceutical research will enable a large commercial and research market and is expected to have significant downstream impacts on improving drug solubility and efficacy PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Anasys Instruments and Prof Lynne Taylor of Purdue propose to develop nanoscale chemical characterization capabilities for drug formulation research This project will build on successful Phase I research demonstrating feasibility of atomic force microscope based infrared spectroscopy AFM IR in pharmaceutical applications This Phase II research will advance techniques for efficiently determining morphological and chemical properties of nanostructured drug formulations leading to improvements in drug solubility


This invention involves measurement of optical properties of materials with sub-micron spatial resolution through infrared scattering scanning near field optical microscopy (s-SNOM). Specifically, the current invention provides substantial improvements over the prior art by achieving high signal to noise, high measurement speed and high accuracy of optical amplitude and phase. Additionally, it some embodiments, it eliminates the need for an in situ reference to calculate wavelength dependent spectra of optical phase, or absorption spectra. These goals are achieved via improved asymmetric interferometry where the near-field scattered light is interfered with a reference beam in an interferometer. The invention achieves dramatic improvements in background rejection by arranging a reference beam that is much more intense than the background scattered radiation. Combined with frequency selective demodulation techniques, the near-field scattered light can be efficiently and accurately discriminated from background scattered light. These goals are achieved via a range of improvements including a large dynamic range detector, careful control of relative beam intensities, and high bandwidth demodulation techniques. In other embodiments, phase and amplitude stability are improved with a novel s-SNOM configuration. In other embodiments an absorption spectrum may be obtained directly by comparing properties from a known and unknown region of a sample as a function of illumination center wavelength.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.75K | Year: 2012

The dramatic increase in development and usage of nanostructured materials has left a critical characterization gap in the ability to chemically identify and map materials with nanoscale spatial resolution. Anasys Instruments proposes to develop a high speed Wideband Infrared NanoSpectroscopy (WINS) platform that will dramatically extend the available capabilities for chemical characterization at the nanoscale. Closing this characterization gap through successful completion of this project will accelerate the development of novel nanoscale materials as well as providing critical analytical capabilities to basic materials science. During Phase I, the WINS project developed and demonstrated a broad range of technologies to overcome previous technology barriers and enable wideband, high resolution infrared spectroscopy at the nanoscale, specifically: (1) a new widely tunable mid-infrared laser source meeting key market performance needs; (2) dynamic beam control capabilities including arbitrary polarization control (breakthrough new capability for studying oriented polymers) along with dynamic beam angle and power control; (3) a new atomic force microscope (AFM) based infrared nanospectroscopy platform, including high resolution scattering scanning near field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) measurements. This Phase II project will build on the success of Phase I activities to develop and commercialize wideband infrared nano-spectroscopy. This new WINS platform will employ AFM-based techniques that use the probe of an AFM to detect absorption or scattering of infrared radiation by a sample just under the AFM probe tip. Specifically in Phase II the proposers will develop a commercial WINS platform prototype incorporating: (1) Interchangeable, broadly and rapidly tunable infrared (IR) sources; (2) A dynamic beam control module to provide IR excitation with optimal power, position and desired polarization to the sample; (3) Capabilities for mapping molecular orientation in oriented polymers; (4) A new AFM nanospectroscopy platform suitable for IR spectroscopy, s-SNOM and other spectroscopic applications. This project is anticipated to have far reaching impacts. Infrared spectroscopy is arguably the most widely used technique for chemical characterization, but spatial resolution limits have prevented it from being widely applied at the nanoscale. Scattering SNOM and Raman are both techniques with significant potential, but various barriers have prevented broad adoption. By overcoming these barriers, this project will give researchers a robust capability to leverage the power of infrared spectroscopy over broad wavelength ranges and at resolution scales well below current limits. The WINS platform will enable a wide range of high resolution characterization in materials science and life sciences including correlation of morphological, chemical, mechanical and optical properties. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Based on market experience, we anticipate significant downstream benefits in areas including the development of advanced polymer materials, automotive materials, photovoltaics, materials for biofuels, and many other areas.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

Infrared spectroscopy is the most widely used technique for chemical characterization with a worldwide market of over $1B annually, but has fundamental spatial resolution limits of at the scale of many microns. Atomic Force Microscope based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) has recently broken this spatial resolution limit using the tip of an AFM to detect IR absorption with spatial resolution >100X better than conventional IR instruments. AFM-IR has already been successfully applied to many applications, including polymer composites and films, photonic devices, organic photovoltaics, fuel cell membranes, and bacteria for biofuels applications and other energy applications. Unfortunately, the high instrument cost, driven by expensive tunable IR lasers (~$150K), has dramatically constrained the adoption of the AFM-IR technique to top tier universities/national labs and very large companies. While demand is increasing for high resolution infrared spectroscopy at DOE and other synchrotron IR beamlines, there has not been a viable technical approach to interface AFM-IR to these synchrotron sources. As such there is a tremendous opportunity to expand the impact of infrared nanospectroscopy if: (1) the AFM-IR technique can be enabled with a much lower cost IR source; and (2) made accessible to synchrotron beamlines. Proposal Approach: Following successful Phase I research, the proposer will develop a new low cost mid-IR source to enable a low cost/high performance AFM-IR instrument, covering the full mid-IR wavelength range. The new platform will employ a low cost thermal source in combination with a novel proprietary technology that enables it use for AFM-IR. This effort will leverage previous investments by DOE that resulted in the development of resonance enhanced AFM-IR that enables detection of IR absorption from nanoscale regions of a sample with improved sensitivity. The Phase I research has demonstrated feasibility of key aspects the proposed system, including the feasibility of the low cost mid-IR source and associated spectroscopic measurements. Phase II efforts will (1) optimize and extend IR modulation techniques developed in Phase I; (2) demonstrate resonance enhanced AFM-IR spectroscopy with the low cost thermal source; (3) build a production prototype instrument suitable for customer sample measurements; and (4) demonstrate low cost infrared nanospectroscopy on real world samples. This project will also interface AFM-IR and s-SNOM capabilities to the synchrotron at the DOE Advanced Light Source. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed instrument will provide broadly applicable chemical analysis at the nanoscale on an affordable platform. Specifically, it will provide: (1) ~100X improved spatial resolution compared to convention instruments; (2) lower cost than current AFM-IR instruments; and (3) a platform to interface AFM-IR and s-SNOM capabilities to DOE and other synchrotrons. By dramatically reducing the cost of infrared nanospectroscopy (currently affordable only to multi-billion dollar companies and top-tier universities), this project will make a powerful new analytical technique much more widely and will accelerate R&D in diverse fields including polymers, energy, photonics, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and others.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

Mass Spectrometry (MS) is one of the most widely used analytical techniques for chemical characterization. It is used routinely in a wide variety of industrial and academic laboratories in a wide set of applications such as polymers, pharmaceutics, life sciences, photovoltaics etc. Despite MS being a very powerful chemical analysis technique, when used as the detection system in chemical imaging its spatial resolution is restricted to several tens of microns when used with conventional atmospheric pressure surface sampling methods. On the other hand, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a powerful technique that can be used for nanoscale morphological and physical property measurements but one of its greatest drawbacks is that it has been chemically blind. Our proposal will bridge this divide by implementing and commercializing the combination of AFM with the definitive elemental and molecular characterization capabilities of MS. Our technical approach is to use an AFM thermal probe to desorb nanoscale sample areas which are then collected, ionized and delivered to a MS Inlet. The feasibility of our technical approach for nanoscale chemical imaging was demonstrated during Phase I where 500nm resolution was shown for real world polymer samples. A wide range of scientifically relevant compound classes were thermally desorbed by applying heat to an AFM probe and subsequent mass spectrometric chemical detection. Chemical images of patterned dye printouts, bacteria, mouse brain tissue and phase separated polymer thin films were obtained. A pre-commercial beta version of the AFM-MS product will be developed in Phase II in collaboration with sub-contractor, Dr. Gary Van Berkel, ORNL Distinguished Scientist and Group Leader of ORNLs Organic Mass Spectrometry Group. The goal will be to enable routine multi-modal, nanoscale chemical imaging of real-world samples provided from a number of private and academic research entities. Desorption, transport and ionization of sample material will be further optimized and new designs will implemented for high sample throughput. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: By utilizing nanoscale MS chemical information, we will target specific applications that will have the most commercial impact such as surface blooming of stabilization additives in polymer manufacturing, discovery of better drug delivery and contaminate free packaging materials and the study of biological functions through the analysis of metabolites in tissues and cells. However, we anticipate significant downstream benefits in broad areas of materials, pharmaceutical, and life sciences application areas including but not limited to the development of advanced pharmaceutics, polymer materials, nano-contaminate detection in semiconductors and electronics, organic photovoltaic materials, automotive materials, materials for energy generation/storage, cell biology, and cancer research.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

Infrared spectroscopy is the most widely used technique for chemical characterization with a worldwide market of over $1B annually, but has fundamental spatial resolution limits at the scale of many microns. Anasys pioneered the field of Atomic Force Microscope based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) which recently broke this spatial resolution limit using the tip of an AFM to detect IR absorption with spatial resolution >100X better than conventional IR instruments. The research and development efforts that have occurred during the Phase I and Phase II projects have demonstrated the capability of a new technique called Resonant Enhanced AFM-IR with sensitivity more than 100X better than current commercial AFM-IR capabilities, allowing chemical analysis down to the monolayer level. In addition, we have demonstrated the ability to perform Resonance Enhanced AFM-IR measurements in liquid opening a range of new applications. Unfortunately the Resonance Enhanced AFM-IR technique has two key limitations which this proposal seeks to solve: 1) Operation in liquid is still not of sufficient sensitivity for many research applications 2) The Resonance Enhanced AFM-IR measurement is not fast enough for substantial commercial adoption. Proposal Approach: We will use a combination of new cantilever designs; new detection techniques and algorithmic and electronics improvements to achieve our goals. Our sub-contractor in this proposal is our longtime collaborator Prof Mikhail Belkin of UT-Austin who is a co-inventor with Anasys of the Resonance Enhanced AFM-IR approach and an expert in the field. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: It will enable the AFM-IR technique to penetrate the large and important Life Sciences field where it is required that samples are hydrated. The speed improvements will make it a powerful new analytical technique that will be adopted much more widely and will accelerate R&D in diverse fields including polymers, energy, photonics, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and others.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 597.82K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The goal of the proposed Phase II STTR research is to develop an imaging system capable of detecting and identifying biomolecules in cells and tissue sections with sub cellular spatial resolution The system combines an atomic force microscope AFM with mass spectrometry MS analysis and utilizes a unique tip enhanced laser ablation TELA method developed in the Phase I portion of the research The current technology limitation of imaging mass spectrometry is the fact that it is possible to obtain high resolution images of small molecules and low resolution images of large molecules but it is not possible to both at once The proposed instrument directly addresses this technology limitation The TELA effect developed under Phase I as an off line MS method will be developed under Phase II into an on line instrument that integrates AFM and mass spectrometry imaging for both excellent spatial resolution and biomolecule mass spectrometry The aims of the project are divided into further refinement of TELA and development of the on line TELA MS interface integration of TELA and MS imaging and application to brain imaging Refinement of the tip enhanced laser ablation involves a study of the fundamental interaction between the pulsed ablation laser and the atomic force microscope tip The optimized ablation system will be combined with an ultra low flow electrospray ionization system in which charged particles from the electrospray source interact with the ablation plume to form biomolecule ions Integration of the AFM and MS imaging systems will use four imaging modalities spot by spot sampling area sampling area imaging and depth profiling The result is an AFM capable of both physical and chemical imaging of cells and tissue The AFM TELA MS device will be applied to detection of biomolecules in rat brain tissue Spatial profiling of lipids peptides cocaine and cocaine metabolites will be performed The AFM TELA MS system will be constructed by Anasys based on past product development and manufacturing experience with nanoscale imaging systems such as atomic force microscopy and infrared spectroscopy chemical imaging using tunable pulsed laser sources Mass spectrometry performance tests will be carried out on in the laboratory of Prof Kermit Murray at Louisiana State University who is an expert in the development of laser ablation methods for the detection of biomolecules by mass spectrometry PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The goal of this project is to develop an imaging instrument capable of identifying biological molecules on the scale of single cells This device addresses the technology limitations of current imaging systems that lack either the ability to resolve singl cells or lack the ability to detect large biomolecules This device is a critical tool for biomedicl research and will assist in the disease research drug development and in clinical diagnosis


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STTR PHASE II | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop technologies to enable commercialization of nanoscale Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA). Conventional DMA works by applying an oscillating stress to a sample and measuring the time-dependent strain. Analysis of DMA data gives information about material stiffness, viscosity, thermal transitions and activation energies, for example. DMA is a critical and widely used tool to measure the viscoelastic properties of bulk materials, but it suffers from three key limitations: slow speed, limited frequency range, and the lack of spatially-resolved information. Large and growing material classes employ nanoscale composite structures to achieve desired material properties. No current tool can rapidly examine the temperature-dependent viscoelastic response of these materials on the scales they are being engineered. To address this unmet need, we will extend successful Phase I research to develop instrumentation based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) using rapidly heatable AFM cantilever probes. Specifically, the nanoscale DMA platform will provide: (1) variable temperature DMA in seconds; (2) measurement frequencies three orders of magnitude higher than conventional DMA; (3) spatial resolution down to < 100 nm; and (4) sensitive and spatially-resolved measurements of glass transitions on wide range of commercially important polymers not previously measurable.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will stretch across multiple industries and academic research areas. Metrology and characterization are foundations of successful materials science and materials manufacturing. The lack of materials characterization tools at the nanoscale has been identified by the chemical industry as a key bottleneck for the rapid development of new materials. This proposal aims to fill a major gap in required instrumentation. With the ability to measure temperature-dependent viscoelastic properties at the nanoscale, materials scientists and engineers will be able for the first time to directly investigate local material stiffness, energy absorption, and damping in heterogeneous materials over a wide range of operating temperatures and frequencies. In addition to spatially resolved measurements, the dramatic measurement speed improvements (a thousand-fold improvement over conventional DMA) will enable higher measurement throughput, lower cost per measurement, more frequent sampling and better measurement statistics. Based on interactions with customers in diverse industries, we have already has already identified strong market pull in areas including epoxies, polymer blends, multilayer films, medical devices, semiconductor packaging, and aerospace markets.


This invention involves measurement of optical properties of materials with sub-micron spatial resolution through infrared scattering scanning near field optical microscopy (s-SNOM). Specifically, the current invention provides substantial improvements over the prior art by achieving high signal to noise, high measurement speed and high accuracy of optical amplitude and phase. Additionally, it some embodiments, it eliminates the need for an in situ reference to calculate wavelength dependent spectra of optical phase, or absorption spectra. These goals are achieved via improved asymmetric interferometry where the near-field scattered light is interfered with a reference beam in an interferometer. The invention achieves dramatic improvements in background rejection by arranging a reference beam that is much more intense than the background scattered radiation. Combined with frequency selective demodulation techniques, the near-field scattered light can be efficiently and accurately discriminated from background scattered light. These goals are achieved via a range of improvements including a large dynamic range detector, careful control of relative beam intensities, and high bandwidth demodulation techniques. In other embodiments, phase and amplitude stability are improved with a novel s-SNOM configuration.

Loading Anasys Instruments Corp. collaborators
Loading Anasys Instruments Corp. collaborators