Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education

Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education

Eugenia Kharlampieva
Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva, Chemistry

Congratulations to Dr. Eugenia Khamlampieva on her new National Science Foundation grant for MRI:  Acquisition of an Atomic Force Microscope for Materials Research and Education.

Dr. Kharlampieva says:  This Major Research Instrumentation award supports the University of Alabama at Birmingham to acquire an atomic force microscope for interdisciplinary materials research and education. This microscope supports a diverse, multi-departmental research in soft materials ranging from soft synthetic hydrogels to relatively dense composites and biological structures. The instrument will be located at UAB Department of Chemistry and will combine the capabilities for high-resolution and high-speed imaging with quantitative nanomechanical mapping.

The ability to acquire multifunctional, high-resolution data under a wide range of operating conditions allows for studies on a broad spectrum of dry and hydrated samples. The types of samples extend from synthetic networks, polymer composites, nanodevices, to cell membranes and tissues. The common theme among these samples is that they all involve soft materials, i.e., synthetic polymers, biological structures, or combinations of the two. An increased ability to characterize state-of-the-art nanomaterials results in an enhanced fundamental understanding of the structural properties of soft materials and the composition at their surfaces. This includes the effect of the surface morphology on the physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of the materials.

The understanding enables transformative research for the development of new materials in tissue regenerative therapies, controlled drug delivery, molecular sensing, and related biotechnologies. The atomic force microscope will also play a vital role in student education in the fields of chemistry, materials science, biomedical science, and biomedical engineering. A high-caliber research environment is vital to the regional economy in Central Alabama through raising community awareness toward biomedical and soft-materials technologies.