Characterization of tip size and geometry of the pipettes used in scanning ion conductance microscopy

Year: 2016

Authors: Tognoni E., Baschieri P., Ascoli C., Pellegrini M., Pellegrino M.

Autors Affiliation: CNR, Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Via Moruzzi 1, I-56124 Pisa, Italy; Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Piazza Cavalieri 7, I-56126 Pisa, Italy; Università di Pisa, Dipartimento di Ricerca Traslazionale e delle Nuove Tecnologie in Medicina e Chirurgia, Via S Zeno 31, I-56127 Pisa, Italy

Abstract: Scanning ion-conductance microscopy (SICM) belongs to the family of scanning-probe microscopies. The spatial resolution of these techniques is limited by the size of the probe. In SICM the probe is a pipette, obtained by heating and pulling a glass capillary tubing. The size of the pipette tip is therefore an important parameter in SICM experiments. However, the characterization of the tip is not a consolidated routine in SICM experimental practice. In addition, potential and limitations of the different methods available for this characterization may not be known to all users. We present an overview of different methods for characterizing size and geometry of the pipette tip, with the aim of collecting and facilitating the use of several pieces of information appeared in the literature in a wide interval of time under different disciplines. In fact, several methods that have been developed for pipettes used in cell physiology can be also fruitfully employed in the characterization of the SICM probes. The overview includes imaging techniques, such as scanning electron microscopy and atomic Force microscopy, and indirect methods, which measure some physical parameter related to the size of the pipette. Examples of these parameters are the electrical resistance of the pipette filled with a saline solution and the surface tension at the pipette tip. We discuss advantages and drawbacks of the methods, which may be helpful in answering a wide range of experimental questions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Journal/Review: MICRON

Volume: 83      Pages from: 11  to: 18

More Information: This work was partially funded by the National Research Council under the project “Nanotechnology-based therapy and diagnostic of brain diseases (Nanobrain)”, in the framework of “Progetto Bandiera PNR 2011-1013”.
KeyWords: Atomic force microscopy; Nanopipette; Scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM)
DOI: 10.1016/j.micron.2016.01.002

Citations: 10
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