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Alternative configuration scheme for signal amplification with scanning
ion conductance microscopy
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Scanning Ion Conductance
(SICM) is an emerging nanotechnology tool to investigate the morphology and charge
transport properties of nanomaterials, including soft matter. SICM uses an
electrolyte filled nanopipette as a scanning probe and detects current changes based on
the distance between the nanopipette apex and the target sample in an electrolyte
solution. In conventional SICM, the pipette sensor is excited by applying voltage as
it raster scans near the surface. There have been attempts to improve upon raster
scanning because it can induce collisions between the pipette sidewalls and target
sample, especially for soft, dynamic materials (e.g., biological cells). Recently,
Novak et al. demonstrated that hopping probe ion conductance
(HPICM) with an adaptive scan method can improve the image quality obtained by SICM
for such materials. However, HPICM is inherently slower than conventional raster
scanning. In order to optimize both image quality and scanning speed, we report the
development of an alternative configuration scheme for SICM signal amplification that
is based on applying current to the nanopipette. This scheme overcomes traditional
challenges associated with low bandwidth requirements of conventional SICM. Using our
alternative scheme, we demonstrate successful imaging of L929 fibroblast cells and
discuss the capabilities of this instrument configuration for future
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