SBIR Phase II: NanoIR: Infrared Chemical Spectroscopy at the sub-20 nm Scale

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Phase II
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Anasys Instruments Corp.
25 W. Anapamu, Suite B, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3170
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Craig Prater
(805) 680-5150
Business Contact:
Craig Prater
(805) 680-5150
Research Institution:
University of California

Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will involve research and development of infrared nanospectroscopy, leading to the first commercial instrument capable of infrared spectroscopy and chemical imaging at the sub-20 nm scale on a broad range of samples. We will develop and demonstrate key technologies to dramatically improve the resolution and sensitivity of atomic force microscope-based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). Conventional infrared spectroscopy is the most widely used technique for chemical characterization, but fundamental limits prevent it from being applied at the nanoscale. The AFM has excellent spatial resolution, but until recently had no ability to perform chemical spectroscopy. AFM-IR has demonstrated infrared spectroscopy at well below conventional diffraction limits, but the current spatial resolution and sensitivity are on the order of 100-200 nm, and the method requires specialized sample preparation. This effort will expand on successful Phase I research to develop a robust instrument for obtaining high-resolution chemical spectra on a wide variety of samples with minimal sample preparation. This project will combine simulations with development of experimental techniques and prototype instrumentation to enable commercialization of infrared spectroscopy and chemical imaging down to the scale of single monolayers and individual molecules. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to give researchers a robust capability to leverage the power of infrared spectroscopy over broad wavelength ranges and at resolution scales well below current limits. Infrared spectroscopy is arguably the most widely used technique for chemical characterization, but spatial resolution limits have prevented it from being widely applied at the nanoscale. With billions of dollars of global investments in nanoscience and nanotechnology, the lack of IR nanospectroscopy technology leaves an enormous gap in needed characterization capabilities. The novel AFM-IR platform will enable a wide range of high-resolution characterization methodologies in materials science and life sciences including correlation of morphological, chemical, mechanical and optical properties. Based on specific early customer measurement requests, we anticipate significant downstream benefits in areas including the development of block co-polymers, advanced polymer nanocomposites, functional nanostructures, catalysts, materials for energy generation and storage, and many other areas.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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