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New High-Speed Nano Imaging Device 67

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have built a new nano imaging device which is 100 times faster than current technology. Not only is the 'FIRAT' (Force sensing Integrated Readout and Active Tip) much faster than the current 'AFM' (atomic force microscopy), it also is able to take movies and to simultaneously capture several physical properties of nanostructures, such as stiffness, elasticity or viscosity. In fact, the FIRAT probe, which works like a microphone, could one day replace AFM. One of the researchers commented that 'We've multiplied each of the old capabilities by at least 10, and it has lots of new applications.'"
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New High-Speed Nano Imaging Device

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  • nano? (Score:2, Funny)

    by eobanb ( 823187 )
    Damn, and I thought this was about Apple's new top-secret iPod camera.
  • Sadly, (Score:5, Funny)

    by ian_mackereth ( 889101 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:33AM (#14722745) Journal
    my first thought was that we could finally apply phrenology to dust mites.

    I need to get out more.

  • I remember on the old Batman TV show, that Batman had a Batcomputer that could take any material and separate it into its constituent compounds. Batman and Robin could then look at what chemicals were in the material and use their Batdetective capabilities to determine the origin of it and ultimately the Batvillain behind that episode's caper.

    How much cooler it is to be able to analyze the material in-situ without having to destroy it! Except for any quantum effects, I suppose. :-p
  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by brogdon ( 65526 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:06AM (#14722836) Homepage
    Yet another device my ex-girlfriend can claim she'd need to find my unit.

    Thanks a lot, march of scientific progress...
  • Nothing to see here? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ogemaniac ( 841129 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:09AM (#14722845)
    Unlike the vast majority of science articles I read here on Slashdot, this new device appears to be the real deal, will be in actual use very quickly, and will make a difference in the relevant scientific community.

    Most of the articles here are either pseudo-science or random articles with no particular scientific significance but some controversial or funny element.
  • Drug screening? (Score:1, Interesting)

    including material property imaging and parallel molecular assays for drug screening and discovery.

    Am I the only one to think this is a bit strange? If you're discovering new drugs I'm cool with that... but to mention it as a possible drug screening device says you're not in it for the freedom that science can provide.

    • "you're not in it for the freedom"

      You mean, the freedom to cheat in sports and the freedom to rape and kill a kid just because you are under the influence.

      Ah, that freedom~
      • Drugs are no excuse to rape and kill kids, if that's what you're getting at. But I don't appreciate new applications to tell if I've EVER VIOLATED ANY DRUG LAW EVER, because some drug laws are downright stupid. Change the law to exclude marijuana and assorted hallucinogens and I might change my mind.
        • My statement wasn't specifically regarding "usage" of drug alone or a sad excuse for any criminal's action. My statement was, including but not exclusive, to drug trafficing and sale of narcotics. Drug screening isn't just to screen humans.

          However it seems, the word "Drug Screening" makes a lot of people jumping to conclusion that their "freedom" will be taken away. The word "Paranoid" comes to mind.

          One thing I do realize is that few people love to make comparison between alcohol and drug. Points may be
          • Re:Drug screening? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Firethorn ( 177587 )
            First "Drug Screening" most likely be for purposes other than detecting illegal drug usage. It's more likely to be used to detect the effects of various new drugs on various tissue samples.

            Many narcotics are highly potent and lethal in small amount
            Like caffeine? The LD-50 is only 10 grams.

            We can't even control drunk driving, what makes you think that "public" is going to be responsible enough to use marijuana
            Because Marijuana is a different drug than alchohol, with much milder effects?

            without screaming ci
            • Like caffeine? The LD-50 is only 10 grams.
              I'm sure, you'd heard so many lives destroyed by caffeine users and death toll by caffeine OD addicts. LD50 of THC is about 21 grams, but how many people died from smoking pot alone?

              Because Marijuana is a different drug than alchohol, with much milder effects?
              What planet are you from and what biological composition is your body made out of? For a casual marijuana smoker, that may be true, but the effect is definitely not "milder" by volume.

              Yes, the drug war has re
              • For instance, Islamic countries around the world shows that alcohol CAN BE EFFECTIVELY ILLEGALIZED.

                That's a totally retarded argument. It's against their fucking religion, not simply some law. If people believe they'll get stoned to death if they drink it, well... it's not hard to see how that would reduce the rate of alcohol consumption. But that's not even a 100% effective deterrant, for example, people still adulter in Islamic countries and take their stoning.

                Is that the way you want your country ru

                • You are a total retard for even talking about a subject you have absolutely no clue about. It's the LAW based on interpretation of religion. Second, you don't get stoned for drinking alcohol. Vast majority of Islamic countries don't "stone" you to death for drinking alcohol, you dumbass. Ignorant statements like yours just make me wonder if you still believe in fary tales of Sinbad. If you are going to state some false statement, at least do some research. Islamic law states for intoxicater to get 40
                  • Hit a nerve, did I? Get some perspective before you go all jihad over the difference between being stoned vs being whipped like a mule. I was making hyperbole because the law itself is stupid. It's a dumb law and for you to even state that it's a proof of prohibition working is idiocy to the highest degree. It's proof that the threat of severe physical harm is a mildly effective deterrant to drinking alcohol.

                    And what are you talking about with "fairy tales of Sinbad?" You do realize you've made a jump fr
                    • Why are you so quick to judge on other culture without looking at our own idiotic laws? So the millions of death by drunk driving is what you called "FOR A VICTIMLESS CRIME of all things"?

                      You can criticize all you want on islamic law, but I rather look at it from other way around. How many idiotic and barbaric laws do we still have? Death Penalty by EU's standard, it's nothing but barbaric and cruel. What the fuck?

                      Fucking 40 whips against millions of death toll by drunk driving, you tell that to a mothe
                    • Driving while impared is NOT a victimless crime. Well, unless they smash themselves up in and on their own property involving nobody else. Which would be their right. Want a racetrack that allows you to drive with a blood alcohol level of .3? Build one yourself. Have a ball. Just don't expect anyone but your heirs to deal with the cleanup, paid for out of your estate.

                      Driving is a privilage, done on roads owned and maintained by the public, for the public good. Saftey rules are prudent and allowed. T
                    • Man, you suck at forming arguments. Your entire post is one giant bundle of logical fallacies. How the fuck do you know what I judge outside of the small postings I made here? I call you out on your bullshit because you posted it first. I'm not going to write a fucking essay on the merits of every law for your dumb ass. We are discussing your preposterous idea of whipping people for drinking alcohol, not the laws of the United States (which, you correctly assume I live in, however this site is international
                    • Man, you like to argue. This post is so yesterday. But I'll keep it alive, just for the sake of good fun.

                      I call you out on your bullshit because you posted it first.
                      Man, you are mature one.

                      We are discussing your preposterous idea of whipping people for drinking alcohol, not the laws of the United States
                      No, I didn't even suggest legislating idiotic law such as whipping people for drinking. I only suggested the law exists in countries such as islamic countries. Now I do admit, it's belief system that does
                    • First off, I think you misunderstood the spirit of the first paragraph. It was there simply to point out that I was addressing your post, and not writing a treatise on laws that piss me off. I'm not starting a, "you did this first nyaaaah," contest. It's a fact, you posted something, I responded.

                      One of the biggest issues with people getting whipped is that other people need to perform the whipping. What if you're wrong? What if the man holding the whip is a fucking insane sadist and goes too far? Look at
              • I'm sure, you'd heard so many lives destroyed by caffeine users and death toll by caffeine OD addicts. LD50 of THC is about 21 grams, but how many people died from smoking pot alone?

                LD50 for caffeine is 150mg/kilo of body weight,orally [grayskies.net] using the 'standard' 66kilo human makes lethal dose about 10 grams.

                Where'd you get 21 grams? The closest I can figure is the 30 mg/kg for intravenous usage with female rats(males can stand double).

                For humans, no LD50 has been established. The closest we've come is monkeys [drugscience.org],
    • Re:Drug screening? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mrokkam ( 783202 )
      Well... drug screening can be anything. Maybe to screen potential drug candidates by studying them at that scale and studying their interactions.
      Maybe you just have a one track mind;) :-p
      • Yes, and you're right... I just hear "drug screening" and I think "the ability of some asshat to conlude I am incapable of doing ________ because I smoked a joint last weekend." A lot of that is because that's the broadest application, and the worst one.

        But if you're looking for the right drug for the right problem, then yes, it's quite useful. My mom died of cancer, and something like this could've helped prolong her life, if not save her.

        All I ask of new technology like this is that it comes with a go

    • Outside of law-enforcement circles, "screening" is taken to mean "hunting through hundreds of thousands of similar molecules to find the ones that are bioactive". In other words, it's how you find candidates for further development.

      It's also tedious, error-prone, and sometimes fruitless, as the compounds of interest interact poorly with the host. As in, "Earl took that new Pentium-X for his Malaria, and now he's got purple spots on his nose".
      • Well, outside of law-enforcement, journalism, and sports...and people who pay a lot of attention to words used by people in those areas.

        Actually, only in certain technical fields does drug screening have the meaning that you're suggesting. It's rather like "hacker" in that way. When I say "hacker" I mean someone who ... well, I generally mean a kernel hacker. When I hear it in general conversation, however, I normally understand it as meaning cracker. I've been wrong, but not frequently.
  • by vashdot ( 887177 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @05:21AM (#14723025)
    The major innovation you get by using sound is that your detector can be smaller (i.e. faster) and less reliant on precise optics. This is the double whammy Grail of nano-imaging. From TFA: "For a regular AFM to detect the features of the object, the actuator must be large enough to move the cantilever up and down. The inertia of this large actuator limits the scanning speed of the current AFM. But FIRAT solves this problem by combining the actuator and the probe..." But there seems to be some discrepancy in the article. "Georgia Tech researchers have been able to use FIRAT with a commercial AFM system to produce clear scans of nanoscale features at speeds as high as 60 Hertz (or 60 lines per second)." Is this what they mean by a "movie" which they claim has never been done with AFMs? It's true that commercial AFMs do not achieve this speed, but http://hansmalab.physics.ucsb.edu/index.html/ [ucsb.edu] for example custom builds AFMs to that spec since 2002. The second part that seems misinformed is that FIRAT is not unique in it's use of surface properties and a cantilever-type system. Current AFMs "bounce" off the surface in the same way, interacting well before actual contact (insofar as contact has meaning in the quantum mechanical sense).
    • I don't see why this is so much different to classical AFM's. First of all, it still is an AFM, only the force detection method is different. Secondly, not all AFM's use cantilevers and optics. There are in fact quite a few alternatives (e.g. tuning forks, piezo resistive cantilevers). And still, even with classical cantilever and optics systems you can achieve much more than 60 lines per second (I first thought it supposed to be 60 frames per second). I worked with such a classical system, and it could sc
  • by mk_is_here ( 912747 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @05:44AM (#14723077)
    Force sensing Integrated Readout and Active Tip...

    So it could help find out Jedi candidates within us?
  • I'n not convinced of the quality of the new device based on the information in the article. There is just not enough information. There is almost nothing about how the new system achieves its claimed amazing sensitivity and speed, except that the probe is `a bit like a cross between a pogo stick and a microphone'. They talk about a membrane with a tip on it. But only a membrane doesn't a microphone make. How does this thing measure? Inductive? Capacitative? Both have their pro's and cons, and I am sceptic
    • First thing I do when I see press releases like this is to stick the name of the group leader (in this case FL Degertekin) into a search on Google Scholar [google.com] to get some scientific info (yes, I know Web of Science is better, but it takes a lot more clicks to get to any papers).
  • Video AFM is not new (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Video-rate AFMs have existed for quite some time. Several exist as commercial products, e.g. http://www.infinitesima.com/VideoAFM/index.html [infinitesima.com] VideoAFM from Infinitesima.
  • Weeeeeeell (Score:1, Funny)

    by mr_jrt ( 676485 )

    'We've multiplied each of the old capabilities by at least 10, and it has lots of new applications.'

    Well....*MY* new high speed nano-imaging device has multiplied capabilities that go to 11...so there!

  • as someone who'll be working in this field in the not-too-distant future, this could be a tremendously useful device. anything that allows a moving image is tremendously useful, and if this is as sensitive as they say, it will become a standard tool.

    my question is, how much will it cost? if it's prohibitively expensive, it's usefulness is limited.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For those with access, anyway. Recent peer-reviewed papers from the group mentioned in the press release Onaran et al [doi.org], Degertekin et al [doi.org]
  • AFM (Score:5, Informative)

    by cocoamix ( 560647 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @10:12AM (#14723884)
    I work with an AFM, and it's a very tempermental machine. The tips are SO delicate, if you look at them wrong, they break and are useless ($10 down the drain). They can only be used once.

    It's a slow process finding the resonance frequency, using the slow piezos to move the tip to the near field, and slowly scanning the area. One of the advantages of AFM is that it can be done on completely wet samples.

    There's another technology called NSOM. [nist.gov] that does much the same thing. Many NSOMs are custom made. We use a Scanning Electron Microscope to check the tips we make to see if they are suitable. Tips are made by slowly stretching a glass wire inder high temperature until the break, giving you 2 NSOM tips.

    Neat stuff.
  • What is the deal with this Roland Piquepaille guy feeding stories to Slashdot? There's even a "Related Links" section for him. Guys, either make him an editor or stop linking to his damn technology site. Slashdot has become less of a "News for Nerds" site and more of a C-Net / Yahoo News style site. It's a sad day when Wired outgeeks you.
  • GIT talks about AFM for imageing. I dont thing dragging a contact needle styllis across molecules is going to be reliable or fast.

    Maybe they should visit this website and get some fresh ideas.

    http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=1373 8 [nanotech-now.com]
  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @02:46PM (#14726132)
    This is what happens when we continue to trust press releases over actual science.

    This may be a great new technique, but there are so many problems with that little blurb, it's amazing. I'm sitting at an AFM right now doing a lot of what they say I shouldn't be able to. Incorporating the Z-actuator on the tip is nothing new, and people are already selling high speed AFMs, and have been for quite some time now.

    The cool part is that current systems rely on a one dimensional oscillator to sense forces, while this relies on a two dimensional oscillator, and that seems to be better. The bad part is that it seems to require touching the surface (which is a big problem if you want to incorporate electric forces into your measurement).
  • Can these devices use for quantum computer develpment? and the second thought, isn't nano technology not available yet?

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle