Scanning Probe Microscopy at Mount Holyoke College

Katherine Aidala
Associate Professor of Physics
211 Kendade Hall
Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075
email: kaidala@mtholyoke.edu
















Welcome to the SPM Laboratory!

We study nanoscale science, through the use of scanning probe microscopy (SPM). Specifically, we perform atomic force microscopy (AFM) which brings a small cantilever and tip (about 20nm diameter) either very close to or into contact with a surface in order to measure local properties. In this way, topography, magnetism, conductance and many other properties can be locally mapped on a sample. There are applications to materials science, device physics, and cell biology, to name a few.

The AFM we use is an Asylum Research MFP-3D, which provides full access to the code controlling the SPM. Add-ons to the system include:

  • enclosed heater stage, heat in inert gas to 250 C
  • fluid heater stage, heat in liquid to 80 C
  • in-plane magnetic field up to 2500 Oe, using a rare earth magnet
  • current preamplifier on the tip holder

Research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation, and Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement.