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Bitumen and bituminous binders are a mixture of a wide variety of molecules with different size and nature; a-polar as well as polar, aromatic as well as aliphatic, chain-like as well as two-dimensional in nature. However, most of the bitumina display at ambient temperatures a spontaneous formation of micro-phases displaying different mechanical properties such as stiffness or adhesive behaviour. The actual chemical composition of the individual phases is still a matter/subject of discussion. The application of different scanning probe microscopy modes such as FFM, SThM and SNOM enabled the investigation of the relationships between asphalt microstructure and material characteristics such as friction coefficient, thermal conductivity and chemical composition and polarity. It was possible to collect data providing more and detailed information's on a nano-scale and in detail with respect to the different micro-phases present in bituminous binders. All data collected fit into the present picture of structuring of bitumen and the characteristics of the present phases. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: phys.org

A goal in materials science, biomedicine and nanotechnology is the non-invasive compositional mapping of materials with nanometer-scale spatial resolution. A variety of high-resolution imaging techniques exist (for example, electron or scanning probe microscopies), but they cannot meet the increasing demands of high, noninvasive chemical sensitivity. Nanoscale chemical analysis has recently become possible with nano-FTIR spectroscopy, an optical technique that combines scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. By illuminating the metalized tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) with a broadband infrared laser or a synchrotron and analyzing the backscattered light with a specially designed Fourier transform spectrometer, local infrared spectroscopy with a spatial resolution of less than 20 nm has been demonstrated. However, only point spectra or spectroscopic line scans comprising not more than a few tens of nano-FTIR spectra could be achieved on organic samples, owing to the long acquisition times. Now, researchers from CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain), Ikerbasque (Bilbao, Spain), Cidetec (San Sebastian, Spain) and the Robert Koch-Institut (Berlin, Germany) have developed hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging. The technique allows for recording two-dimensional arrays of several thousand of nano-FTIR spectra—usually referred as to hyperspectral data cubes—in a few hours, and with a spatial resolution and precision better than 30 nm. "The excellent data quality allows for extracting nanoscale-resolved chemical and structural information with the help of statistical techniques (multivariate data analysis) that use the complete spectroscopic information available at each pixel," says Iban Amenabar, first author of the work. Even without any previous information about the sample and its components, pixels with similar infrared spectra can be grouped automatically with the help of hierarchical cluster analysis. By imaging and analysis of a three-component polymer blend (Figure 1) and, the researchers obtained nanoscale chemical maps that not only reveal the spatial distribution of the individual components but also spectral anomalies that were explained by local chemical interaction. The researcher also demonstrated in situ hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging of native melanin in human hair. For their experiments, the researchers used the commercial nano-FTIR system from Neaspec GmbH including a mid-infrared laser continuum that covers the spectral range from 1000 to 1900 cm-1. Multivariate analysis of the hyperspectral data was done with the software tool CytoSpec, which was developed by coauthor Peter Lasch. "With the rapid development of high-performance mid-infrared lasers and by applying advanced noise reduction strategies, we envision high-quality hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging in few minutes," concludes Rainer Hillenbrand, who led the work. "We see a large application potential in various fields of science and technology, including the chemical mapping of polymer composites, pharmaceutical products, organic and inorganic nanocomposite materials or biomedical tissue imaging," he adds. Explore further: European researchers identify materials at the nanoscale More information: Iban Amenabar et al. Hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging of organic samples based on Fourier transform infrared nanospectroscopy, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14402


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

An ultimate goal in materials science, biomedicine or nanotechnology is the non-invasive compositional mapping of materials with nanometer-scale spatial resolution. A variety of high-resolution imaging techniques exist (for example, electron or scanning probe microscopies), however, they cannot meet the increasing demand in research, development and industry of being noninvasive while offering highest chemical sensitivity. Nanoscale chemical analysis has recently become possible with nano-FTIR spectroscopy, an optical technique that combines scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. By illuminating the metalized tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) with a broadband infrared laser or a synchrotron, and analyzing the backscattered light with a specially designed Fourier Transform spectrometer, local infrared spectroscopy with a spatial resolution of less than 20 nm has been demonstrated. However, only point spectra or spectroscopic line scans comprising not more than a few tens of nano-FTIR spectra could be achieved on organic samples, owing to the long acquisition times. Now, researchers from CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain), Ikerbasque (Bilbao, Spain), Cidetec (San Sebastian, Spain) and the Robert Koch-Institut (Berlin, Germany) developed hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging. The technique allows for recording two-dimensional arrays of several thousand of nano-FTIR spectra - usually referred as to hyperspectral data cubes - in a few hours and with a spatial resolution and precision better than 30 nm. "The excellent data quality allows for extracting nanoscale-resolved chemical and structural information with the help of statistical techniques (multivariate data analysis) that use the complete spectroscopic information available at each pixel", says Iban Amenabar, first author of the work. Even without any previous information about the sample and its components, pixels with similar infrared spectra can be grouped automatically with the help of hierarchical cluster analysis. By imaging and analysis of a three-component polymer blend and (Figure 1), the researchers obtained nanoscale chemical maps that do not only reveal the spatial distribution of the individual components but also spectral anomalies that were explained by local chemical interaction. The researcher also demonstrated in situ hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging of native melanin in human hair. For their experiments, the researchers used the commercial nano-FTIR system from Neaspec GmbH including a mid-infrared laser continuum that covers the spectral range from 1000 to 1900 cm-1. Multivariate analysis of the hyperspectral data was done with the software tool CytoSpec, which was developed by coauthor Peter Lasch. "With the rapid development of high-performance mid-infrared lasers and by applying advanced noise reduction strategies, we envision high-quality hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging in few minutes", concludes Rainer Hillenbrand who led the work. "We see a large application potential in various fields of science and technology, including the chemical mapping of polymer composites, pharmaceutical products, organic and inorganic nanocomposite materials or biomedical tissue imaging ", he adds.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

An ultimate goal in materials science, biomedicine, or nanotechnology is the non-invasive compositional mapping of materials with nanometer-scale spatial resolution. A variety of high-resolution imaging techniques exist (for example, electron or scanning probe microscopies); however, they cannot meet the increasing demand in research, development, and industry of being noninvasive while offering highest chemical sensitivity. Nanoscale chemical analysis has recently become possible with nano-FTIR spectroscopy, an optical technique that combines scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. By illuminating the metalized tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) with a broadband infrared laser or a synchrotron, and analyzing the backscattered light with a specially designed Fourier Transform spectrometer, local infrared spectroscopy with a spatial resolution of less than 20 nm has been demonstrated. However, only point spectra or spectroscopic line scans comprising not more than a few tens of nano-FTIR spectra could be achieved on organic samples, owing to the long acquisition times. Now, researchers from CIC nanoGUNE, Ikerbasque, Cidetec, and the Robert Koch-Institut developed hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging. The technique allows for recording two-dimensional arrays of several thousand of nano-FTIR spectra — usually referred as to hyperspectral data cubes — in a few hours and with a spatial resolution and precision better than 30 nm. “The excellent data quality allows for extracting nanoscale-resolved chemical and structural information with the help of statistical techniques (multivariate data analysis) that use the complete spectroscopic information available at each pixel,” says Iban Amenabar, first author of the work. Even without any previous information about the sample and its components, pixels with similar infrared spectra can be grouped automatically with the help of hierarchical cluster analysis. By imaging and analysis of a three-component polymer blend, the researchers obtained nanoscale chemical maps that do not only reveal the spatial distribution of the individual components but also spectral anomalies that were explained by local chemical interaction. The researcher also demonstrated in situ hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging of native melanin in human hair. For their experiments, the researchers used the commercial nano-FTIR system from Neaspec GmbH including a mid-infrared laser continuum that covers the spectral range from 1000 to 1900 cm-1. Multivariate analysis of the hyperspectral data was done with the software tool CytoSpec, which was developed by coauthor Peter Lasch. “With the rapid development of high-performance mid-infrared lasers and by applying advanced noise reduction strategies, we envision high-quality hyperspectral infrared nanoimaging in few minutes,” concludes Rainer Hillenbrand, who led the work. “We see a large application potential in various fields of science and technology, including the chemical mapping of polymer composites, pharmaceutical products, organic and inorganic nanocomposite materials or biomedical tissue imaging,” he adds.


News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: phys.org

Radiation in the terahertz (THz) frequency range is attracting large interest because of its manifold application potential for non-destructive imaging, next-generation wireless communication or sensing. But still, the generating, detecting and controlling of THz radiation faces numerous technological challenges. Particularly, the relatively long wavelengths (from 30 to 300 mm) of THz radiation require solutions for nanoscale integration of THz devices or for nanoscale sensing and imaging applications. In recent years, graphene plasmonics has become a highly promising platform for shrinking THz waves. It is based on the interaction of light with collective electron oscillations in graphene, giving rise to electromagnetic waves that are called plasmons. The graphene plasmons propagate with strongly reduced wavelength and can concentrate THz fields to subwavelength-scale dimensions, while the plasmons themselves can be controlled electrically. Now, researchers at CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) in collaboration with ICFO (Barcelona, Spain), IIT (Genova, Italy) - members of the EU Graphene Flagship - Columbia University (New York, USA), Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands), NIM (Tsukuba, Japan) and Neaspec (Martinsried, Germany) could visualize strongly compressed and confined THz plasmons in a room-temperature THz detector based on graphene. To see the plasmons, they recorded a nanoscale map of the photocurrent that the detector produced while a sharp metal tip was scanned across it. The tip had the function to focus the THz illumination to a spot size of about 50 nm, which is about 2000 times smaller than the illumination wavelength. This new imaging technique, named THz photocurrent nanoscopy, provides unprecedented possibilities for characterizing optoelectronic properties at THz frequencies. The team recorded photocurrent images of the graphene detector, while it was illuminated with THz radiation of around 100 mm wavelength. The images showed photocurrent oscillations revealing that THz plasmons with a more than 50 times reduced wavelength were propagating in the device while producing a photocurrent. "In the beginning we were quite surprised about the extremely short plasmon wavelength, as THz graphene plasmons are typically much less compressed", says former nanoGUNE researcher Pablo Alonso, now at the University of Oviedo, and first author of the work. "We managed to solve the puzzle by theoretical studies, which showed that the plasmons couple with the metal gate below the graphene", he continues. "This coupling leads to an additional compression of the plasmons and an extreme field confinement, which could open the door towards various detector and sensor applications", adds Rainer Hillenbrand, Ikerbasque Research Professor and Nanooptics Group Leader at nanoGUNE who led the research. The plasmons also show a linear dispersion – that means that their energy is proportional to their momentum - which could be beneficial for information and communication technologies. The team also analysed the lifetime of the THz plasmons, which showed that the damping of THz plasmons is determined by the impurities in the graphene. THz photocurrent nanoscopy relies on the strong photothermoelectric effect in graphene, which transforms heat generated by THz fields, including that of THz plasmons, into a current. In the future, the strong thermoelectric effect could be also applied for on-chip THz plasmon detection in graphene plasmonic circuits. The technique for THz photocurrent nanoimaging could find further application potential beyond plasmon imaging, for example, for studying the local THz optoelectronic properties of other 2D materials, classical 2D electron gases or semiconductor nanostructures. Explore further: How infrared light can be captured by graphene nanostructures More information: Pablo Alonso-González et al. Acoustic terahertz graphene plasmons revealed by photocurrent nanoscopy, Nature Nanotechnology (2016). DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2016.185


News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers developed a technique for imaging THz photocurrents with nanoscale resolution, and applied it to visualize strongly compressed THz waves (plasmons) in a graphene photodetector. The extremely short wavelengths and highly concentrated fields of these plasmons open new venues for the development of miniaturized optoelectronic THz devices (Nature Nanotechnology DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2016.185) Radiation in the terahertz (THz) frequency range is attracting large interest because of its manifold application potential for non-destructive imaging, next-generation wireless communication or sensing. But still, the generating, detecting and controlling of THz radiation faces numerous technological challenges. Particularly, the relatively long wavelengths (from 30 to 300 ?m) of THz radiation require solutions for nanoscale integration of THz devices or for nanoscale sensing and imaging applications. In recent years, graphene plasmonics has become a highly promising platform for shrinking THz waves. It is based on the interaction of light with collective electron oscillations in graphene, giving rise to electromagnetic waves that are called plasmons. The graphene plasmons propagate with strongly reduced wavelength and can concentrate THz fields to subwavelength-scale dimensions, while the plasmons themselves can be controlled electrically. Now, researchers at CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) in collaboration with ICFO (Barcelona, Spain), IIT (Genova, Italy) - members of the EU Graphene Flagship - Columbia University (New York, USA), Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands), NIM (Tsukuba, Japan) and Neaspec (Martinsried, Germany) could visualize strongly compressed and confined THz plasmons in a room-temperature THz detector based on graphene. To see the plasmons, they recorded a nanoscale map of the photocurrent that the detector produced while a sharp metal tip was scanned across it. The tip had the function to focus the THz illumination to a spot size of about 50 nm, which is about 2000 times smaller than the illumination wavelength. This new imaging technique, named THz photocurrent nanoscopy, provides unprecedented possibilities for characterizing optoelectronic properties at THz frequencies. The team recorded photocurrent images of the graphene detector, while it was illuminated with THz radiation of around 100 ?m wavelength. The images showed photocurrent oscillations revealing that THz plasmons with a more than 50 times reduced wavelength were propagating in the device while producing a photocurrent. "In the beginning we were quite surprised about the extremely short plasmon wavelength, as THz graphene plasmons are typically much less compressed", says former nanoGUNE researcher Pablo Alonso, now at the University of Oviedo, and first author of the work. "We managed to solve the puzzle by theoretical studies, which showed that the plasmons couple with the metal gate below the graphene", he continues. "This coupling leads to an additional compression of the plasmons and an extreme field confinement, which could open the door towards various detector and sensor applications", adds Rainer Hillenbrand, Ikerbasque Research Professor and Nanooptics Group Leader at nanoGUNE who led the research. The plasmons also show a linear dispersion - that means that their energy is proportional to their momentum - which could be beneficial for information and communication technologies. The team also analysed the lifetime of the THz plasmons, which showed that the damping of THz plasmons is determined by the impurities in the graphene. THz photocurrent nanoscopy relies on the strong photothermoelectric effect in graphene, which transforms heat generated by THz fields, including that of THz plasmons, into a current. In the future, the strong thermoelectric effect could be also applied for on-chip THz plasmon detection in graphene plasmonic circuits. The technique for THz photocurrent nanoimaging could find further application potential beyond plasmon imaging, for example, for studying the local THz optoelectronic properties of other 2D materials, classical 2D electron gases or semiconductor nanostructures.


Patent
Neaspec GmbH | Date: 2013-07-10

The present invention relates to a method for measuring the near-field signal of a sample in a scattering type near-field microscope and to a device for conducting said method.


Patent
Neaspec GmbH | Date: 2011-02-21

The invention relates to a device for conducting near-field optical measurements of a specimen comprising an optical imaging system, the use of such device and to a method for adjusting the probe or the illumination of the probe in such a device.


Patent
Neaspec GmbH | Date: 2012-12-19

The present invention relates to a method for measuring the near-field signal of a sample in a scattering type near-field microscope and to a device for conducting said method.


Patent
Neaspec GmbH | Date: 2011-08-24

The invention relates to a device for conducting near-field optical measurements of a specimen comprising an optical imaging system, the use of such device and to a method for adjusting the probe or the illumination of the probe in such a device.

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