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Issue 16, 2016
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iPAINT: a general approach tailored to image the topology of interfaces with nanometer resolution

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Abstract

Understanding interfacial phenomena in soft materials such as wetting, colloidal stability, coalescence, and friction warrants non-invasive imaging with nanometer resolution. Super-resolution microscopy has emerged as an attractive method to visualize nanostructures labeled covalently with fluorescent tags, but this is not amenable to all interfaces. Inspired by PAINT we developed a simple and general strategy to overcome this limitation, which we coin ‘iPAINT: interface Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography’. It enables three-dimensional, sub-diffraction imaging of interfaces irrespective of their nature via reversible adsorption of polymer chains end-functionalized with photo-activatable moieties. We visualized model dispersions, emulsions, and foams with ∼20 nm and ∼3° accuracy demonstrating the general applicability of iPAINT to study solid/liquid, liquid/liquid and liquid/air interfaces. iPAINT thus broadens the scope of super-resolution microscopy paving the way for non-invasive, high-resolution imaging of complex soft materials.

Graphical abstract: iPAINT: a general approach tailored to image the topology of interfaces with nanometer resolution

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
18 Jan 2016
Accepted
09 Mar 2016
First published
30 Mar 2016

This article is Open Access

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 8712-8716
Article type
Paper
Author version available

iPAINT: a general approach tailored to image the topology of interfaces with nanometer resolution

A. Aloi, N. Vilanova, L. Albertazzi and I. K. Voets, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 8712
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR00445H

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