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Force measurements at the nanoscale – NanoTweezer Surface

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Nanoparticles are becoming increasingly more important in commercial and industrial products. Typical application fields range from cosmetics over pharmaceuticals to medical diagnostics. Predicting the stability of  synthetic nanoparticles within these products is still an important and difficult challenge. NanoTweezer from Optofluidics quantifies the interactions between nanoparticles and surfaces by using optical near field effects so it is the ideal tool for mastering this challenge. All surface interfacial forces are measured by pushing a particle against a reference plane within the optical near field. The (Brownian) motion of the particle can be tracked by the detection of its scattered light inside the microscope. In contrast to scanning probe microscopy, this method is not limited by thermal noise, but rather uses its advantages. The equilibrium distance between particle and surface shows the chemical affinity between both surfaces. The integrated waveguide and new microfluidic architecture enable high-throughput measurements of approx. 1000 individual particles per hour.

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NanoTweezer Surface incorporates a laser alignment system that automatically aligns the laser with the waveguide. This provides a great level of convenience and increases the system’s performance. At the same time it reduces the set-up time and possible user errors.  The system is based on piezoelectric components with nanometer resolution and achieves a much higher accuracy than manual alignment.

With NT Spotlight, Optofluidics have launched a completely revised and integrated NT surface software suite. NT Spotlight allows live nanoparticle tracking by GPU-accelerated image processing. Image data can now be captured at more than 4000 images per second for over an hour without needing extraordinary processing capacity. Data is processed quickly, as file sizes are now a hundred times smaller than before. Furthermore, data of over a hundred times more particles than before can now be collected.

More about the single nano particle analysis instrument Nanotweezer


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Nicolas Tcherbak
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