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Posted: Apr 16, 2013

JPK Reports on the Research Activities of the Nanophysics Group at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

(Nanowerk News) The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) was founded in 2003 in the city of Genova to promote Italy's technological development and advanced education. Professor Alberto Diaspro is the Director of the Department of Nanophysics. His research includes the design, realization and utilization of optical and biophysical instrumentation such as far-field super resolution optical microscopy and nanoscopy, conventional and confocal microscopy, two-photon fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy architecture, and scanning probe microscopy (STM, SNOM, AFM). This last area has led to collaborations with JPK Instruments.
Dr Claudio Canale is a team leader in the group focusing on the application of scanning probe techniques in the study of bio-materials and bio-mechanisms. One of his main projects has been to couple STED (stimulated emission depletion microscopy) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Describing this work, Dr Canale said "in our department, an entire group works on the development of optical super-resolution techniques and this has led to a STED microscope based on a conventional multi-photon platform from Nikon Instruments. Together with Dr Benjamin Harke, we had the idea to couple the capability of this instrument with those offered by an AFM. For the AFM, we chose the NanoWizardŽ from JPK."
Dr Claudio Canale, Professor Alberto Diaspro, Jenu Chacko-Varghese and Dr Benjamin Harke
Dr Claudio Canale, Professor Alberto Diaspro, Jenu Chacko-Varghese and Dr Benjamin Harke - the group to have coupled STED and AFM at the Department of Nanophyiscs, IIT, Genova.
There have been several iterations of the new combined set-up. This work has been reported in a paper published by the group in the journal, Optical Nanoscopy1. Now, the main goal is to characterize biological processes having simultaneous access to morphological and mechanical properties and coupling both of them with chemical recognition capability directly provided by STED with a resolution in the order of tens of nanometers. Working on model membranes, Dr Canale says "we can recognize target molecules or particular membrane components by STED and we can look at the fine structural and mechanical changes by AFM."
The choice of JPK's AFM came after experience using many different commercial AFM systems. Settling on the NanoWizard, Dr Canale comments "I found the JPK system extraordinarily comfortable for this application. I think that JPK have produced a system with a special aptitude towards biology. This approach to the development of stable systems that provide state of the art performance applications in liquid with a user-friendly approach that makes the system easily accessible not only to users with a physical background but also to biologists and biochemists. In particular, I have been impressed by the unique capability of this instrument to work in a liquid environment with both nanometric spatial and piconewton force resolution."
For more details about JPK's specialist products and applications for the bio and nano sciences, please contact JPK on +49 30533112070, visit the web site: www.jpk.com or see more on Facebook: www.jpk.com/facebook and YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jpkinstruments.
Reference: 1) Harke et al., Optical Nanoscopy 1:3 (2012)
About JPK Instruments
JPK Instruments AG is a world-leading manufacturer of nanoanalytic instruments - particularly atomic force microscope (AFM) systems and optical tweezers - for a broad range of applications reaching from soft matter physics to nano-optics, from surface chemistry to cell and molecular biology. From its earliest days applying atomic force microscope (AFM) technology, JPK has recognized the opportunities provided by nanotechnology for transforming life sciences and soft matter research. This focus has driven JPK's success in uniting the worlds of nanotechnology tools and life science applications by offering cutting-edge technology and unique applications expertise. Headquartered in Berlin and with direct operations in Dresden, Cambridge (UK),
Singapore, Tokyo and Paris (France), JPK maintains a global network of distributors and support centers and provides on the spot applications and service support to an ever-growing community of researchers.
Source: JPK Instruments (press release)
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