Nanotechnology

The term “nanotechnology” encompasses a variety of advanced research methods for investigating characteristic dimensions that are less than ~100 nanometers. Nanotechnology helps scientists and engineers develop faster electronics as well as ultrastrong and extremely light structural materials.

Of particular interest are nanotubes, which are created when carbon atoms bond to one another and form ubiquitous planar hexagonal rings (as in graphite or the benzene molecule). Researchers are investigating the formation of nanotubes in order to improve manufacturing processes and facilitate early detection of disease in medical science. When manufactured on a perfect molecular level, these fullerene tubes offer revolutionary electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties at the nanoscale.

There is also great interest in the optical properties of nanotubes, given their potential use as fluorescent tags in chemical and biological systems. For example, the development of next-generation in vivo optical imaging systems for disease screening and image-guided surgical interventions requires the use of brightly emitting, tissue-specific materials that optically transmit through living tissue1. Research being performed by scientists around the world has begun to demonstrate that fluorescence imaging in the NIR-II / SWIR range utilizing advanced materials such as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) can provide superior in vivo sensitivity compared to fluorescence imaging in the NIR-I region.


PI’s Picks

Our novel NIRvana:640 InGaAs detectors use a 640 x 512 focal plane array to allow the capture of low-light fluorescence from advanced nanomaterials in the NIR-II / SWIR spectral region. These deep-cooled cameras, which provide sensitivity from 0.9 to 1.7 μm, have the ability to expose for as short as 2 μsec (up to many minutes). Ultra-low-noise readout electronics help ensure good signal-to-noise ratios even when the cameras are operated at their maximum rate of 110 full frames per second. Furthermore, excellent camera linearity means that they are highly reliable for scientific research.

For nanotechnology imaging and spectroscopy applications in the spectral region from 200 to 900 nm, our PI-MAX4 family of ICCD cameras offers readout ranging from video rates to thousands of frames per second for capturing dynamics, while a sustained gating repetition rate of 1 MHz (2x better than most research-grade ICCD cameras available on the market today) allows these cameras to keep up with the ever-increasing repetition rates of lasers. These state-of-the-art ICCD cameras are also equipped with SuperSynchro and SuperHV technologies, which provide ultimate gating control in an easy-to-use configuration. Picosecond gating capabilities (<500 psec gating) are offered as well.

 

In addition, our 64-bit LightField software (available as an option for all of the cameras recommended above) provides a powerful yet easy-to-use interface that puts real-time online processing capabilities at the researcher’s fingertips.

 

BEC image of vortices
Laser-induced luminescence (LIL) images of the C/Ni/Co plume during synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes with controlled growth times of ~0.5 sec. Courtesy of Drs. David Geohegan and Alexander Puretzky, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN). See “Intensified CCD Imaging and Spectroscopy Unravel the Mysteries of Carbon Nanotube Formation” for more details
mouse nanotubes
Courtesy of Prof. Hongjie Dai, Stanford University. Read the online article “See Inside a Living Mouse Brain Thanks to Lasers and Carbon Nanotubes” and the application note “Deeply Cooled, Scientific InGaAs Cameras Facilitate NIR-II / SWIR Imaging for Drug Discovery / Small-Animal Research”.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) investigators Drs. David Geohegan and Alexander Puretzky have utilized a Princeton Instruments ICCD camera system for nanotechnology imaging and spectroscopy. High sensitivity and fast gating of the intensifier make our PI-MAX ideal for their experiments.

nanotechnology research setup
A schematic of the ORNL laser-vaporization setup. A 2 inch diameter quartz tube and 1000°C furnace was used. Beam geometries and imaging area are shown. The black dots and numbers indicate the collection points of ablated material: 1 = upstream, 2 = collector. The C/Ni/Co target was placed at different distances, d, from the front of the furnace. Courtesy of Drs. David Geohegan and Alexander Puretzky, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN). See “Intensified CCD Imaging and Spectroscopy Unravel the Mysteries of Carbon Nanotube Formation” for more details.

 

Prof. Hongjie Dai at Stanford University has performed NIR-I as well as NIR-II / SWIR fluorescence imaging of blood vessels in mice using the setup illustrated below. Biocompatible SWNT-IRDye-800 conjugates were utilized as dual-color imaging agents, where IRDye-800 was a commercial NIR-I fluorophore and high-pressure carbon monoxide conversion SWNTs were stably suspended by biocompatible surfactants2.

Stanford experimental setup
(a) Upon excitation by a 785 nm laser, the SWNT-IRDye-800 conjugate emits at ~800 nm (NIR-I region) from the IRDye-800 dye and between 1100 and 1400 nm (NIR-II region) from the SWNT backbone. (b) Absorption spectrum of the SWNT–IRDye-800 conjugate (black dashed line), emission spectrum of the IRDye-800 dye (green line), and emission spectrum of the SWNTs (red line). (c) Imaging setup for simultaneous detection of both NIR-I and NIR-II / SWIR photons using silicon and InGaAs cameras, respectively. A zoomable lens set was used for adjustable magnifications. Schematics2 and spectra2 courtesy of Prof. Hongjie Dai, Stanford University. For more details, as well as images and data, refer to “Deeply Cooled, Scientific InGaAs Cameras Facilitate NIR-II / SWIR Imaging for Drug Discovery / Small-Animal Research”.

 

2. Hong G., Lee J.C., Robinson J.T., Raaz U., Xie L., Huang N.F., Cooke J.P., and Dai H. Multifunctional in vivo vascular imaging using near-infrared II fluorescence. Nat. Med. 18, 1841–1846 (2012).

 

Application Notes

Deeply Cooled, Scientific InGaAs Cameras Facilitate NIR-II / SWIR Imaging for Drug Discovery / Small-Animal Research
The Utilization of Materials Such as SWNTs, Rare-earth–doped Phosphors, and Quantum Dots in Concert with Deeply Cooled, Scientific InGaAs Cameras Holds Great Promise for the Future of In Vivo Optical Iimaging Applications in the NIR-II / SWIR Range

Scientific NIR-II-SWIR Cameras for Advanced Imaging and Spectroscopy Applications
NIRvana InGaAs cameras are ideal for many leading-edge NIR-II / SWIR applications, including semiconductor failure analysis, solar cell inspection, nondestructive testing, astronomy, small animal imaging, and singlet oxygen detection.

ProEM EMCCD Cameras

ProEM EMCCD Cameras

EMCCD cameras for ultra-low light, read noise-limited applications.



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NIRvana SWIR InGaAs Cameras

NIRvana SWIR InGaAs Cameras

Scientific grade, cooled InGaAs focal plane array cameras for demanding SWIR imaging and spectroscopy



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LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

LightField Scientific Imaging & Spectroscopy Software

Ground breaking software to control your Princeton Instruments systems. Now with Windows 10 support. It's like nothing you have ever experienced!



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PI-MAX4 ICCD & emICCD

PI-MAX4 ICCD & emICCD

The reference standard of ICCD cameras. Single photon sensitivity and ultra-fast, <500psec gating



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Featured Product for Nanotechnology

NIRvana SWIR InGaAs Cameras

NIRvana SWIR InGaAs Cameras

Scientific grade, cooled InGaAs focal plane array cameras for demanding SWIR imaging and spectroscopy


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