School of Physical and Chemical Sciences Te Kura Matū Seminar Series

Exploring the Limits of Ultra-High Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy


Nadine van der Heijden


Research Fellow in Chemical Sciences and the MacDiarmid Institute, University of Auckland

Time & Place

Fri, 01 Mar 2019 11:00:00 NZDT in West 701, Level 7

All are welcome


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique wherein an atomically sharp needle raster scans across a surface, detecting forces between it and the sample. In state-of-the-art AFM experiments the measured forces are typically on the order of pico-Newtons, and the lateral resolution is on the order of pico-meters. This enables sub-molecular-resolution imaging of single molecules and atomic resolution on surfaces. The push for smaller and smaller electronic devices as well as the need for better catalysts for the chemical industry necessitates a better understanding of molecules and surfaces on the atomic scale. AFM is uniquely equipped to face these challenges and this thesis provides new insights in the scope of questions that AFM can help answer.

In this talk I will describes our efforts to explore the limits of the technique and to extend the boundaries of what can be measured.

All Welcome


Dr Nadine J. van der Heijden graduated with a BSc in Chemical Sciences and MSC in Nanomaterials from Utrecht University in 2013. As part of this degree she spent four months at City University of Hong Kong, synthesising quantum dots. Her master thesis on superconducting thin films she carried out at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. In 2017 Nadine completed her PhD at under the supervision of Ingmar Swart on ultra-high resolution AFM. Since 2018 she has been a research fellow with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, working in a broad, collaborative project to make and characterize magnonic crystals.