Scanning probe microscopies beyond imaging†
Unraveling physico-chemical properties of molecule based architectures across a wide range of length scales represents one of the major goals of materials science. Scanning Probe Microscopies (SPMs) permit not only the imaging of surfaces, but most interestingly they also make it possible to gain insight into a variety of physical and chemical properties of molecule-based structures occurring in scales ranging from the hundreds of micrometers down to the sub-nanometer regime. Moreover they allow the manipulation of objects with a nanoscale precision, thereby making it possible to nanopattern a surface or to cast light onto the nanomechanics of complex assemblies. Thus, they can provide crucial information for the optimisation of functional materials. This Feature article reviews recent progress in the use of SPMs beyond imaging on soft materials, with a particular emphasis on the chemical discrimination, mechanical properties of macromolecules, tip induced reactions and manipulations as well as on the study of electrical properties of materials on the nanoscale.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating our 2018 prize and award winners