Infrared microspectroscopy combined with conventional atomic force microscopy

B. Kwon, M. V. Schulmerich, L. J. Elgass, R. Kong, S. E. Holton, R. Bhargava, W. P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper reports nanotopography and mid infrared (IR) microspectroscopic imaging coupled within the same atomic force microscope (AFM). The reported advances are enabled by using a bimaterial microcantilever, conventionally used for standard AFM imaging, as a detector of monochromatic IR light. IR light intensity is recorded as thermomechanical bending of the cantilever measured upon illumination with intensity-modulated, narrowband radiation. The cantilever bending is then correlated with the sample's IR absorption. Spatial resolution was characterized by imaging a USAF 1951 optical resolution target made of SU-8 photoresist. The spatial resolution of the AFM topography measurement was a few nanometers as expected, while the spatial resolution of the IR measurement was 24.4μm using relatively coarse spectral resolution (25-125cm-1). In addition to well-controlled samples demonstrating the spatial and spectral properties of the setup, we used the method to map engineered skin and three-dimensional cell culture samples. This research combines modest IR imaging capabilities with the exceptional topographical imaging of conventional AFM to provide advantages of both in a facile manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bimaterial
  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Infrared
  • Microcantilever
  • Monochromator
  • Photothermal
  • Spatial resolution
  • Spectral resolution
  • Thermomechanical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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