Atomic Force Microscopy lab

Scientist in charge: Alessandro Podestà, PhD


Molecular Beam and Nanocrystalline Materials Laboratory - LGM


Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Materials

and Interfaces - CIMaINa

Università degli Studi di Milano

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Research activity

The AFM lab was settled in 1999; since then, the research activity of the AFM group has developed along two parallel tracks, closely interwoven:

the development and implementation of AFM-based techniques and protocols, and their application to the investigation of nanoscale systems.

The activity of the AFM group is well integrated within the interdisciplinary environment of LGM and CIMAINA; the research carried on in the lab is in the frame of

nanosciences and nanotechnologies


The AFM lab staff is involved in the the following main research lines:

  1. Development of Atomic Force Microscopy techniques for the study of nanostructured systems and interfaces
    1. Statistical analysis of surface morphology of thin films and nanostructures;
    2. Metrology of nanometer-sized objects (proteins and nanoparticles);
    3. Nanotribological and nanomechanical characterization of (bio)interfaces;
    4. Force-spectroscopy;
    5. Scanning electric impedance microscopy;
    6. Calibration of AFM probes.


  1. Study of structural/configurational properties of cells, biomolecules (DNA, proteins) and their complexes, and their interactions with solid surfaces
    1. Physico-chemical mechanisms of biocompatibility of nanostructured surfaces;
    2. Oligomerization/aggregation of proteins;
    3. Interaction of nanoparticles and molecules with reconstituted lipid bilayers (mimicking biomembranes).
    4. Mechanical properties of cells and tissues.


  1. Study of nanostructured interfaces and inorganic systems
    1. Evolution of surface morphology, wettability, electric and mechanical properties of thin nanostructured films;
    2. Interfacial properties of thin room-temperature ionic liquids films supported on solid nanostructured surfaces.



Recent research projects


    1. Impact of nanoscale morphology and roughness on the IsoElectric Point of metal-oxide surfaces;
    2. Nanoscale mechanisms of biocompatibility of nanostructured metal-oxide surfaces;
    3. Nanotoxicity and sustainability of ionic liquids: Study of the interaction of ionic liquids with reconstituted lipid membranes and living cells;
    4. Impact of nanoscale morphology and roughness on cell nanomechanics;
    5. Nanomechanical properties of nanocomposite films.




Complete bibliographic record (ResearcherId E-6568-2010):