Atomic force microscopy

Marat Mavletov, Ilnur Kamaltdinov, Yuriy Zamula


Utilization of atomic force microscopy for investigation of nanobubbles, emulsion droplets and films on micro-and nanoscale

Photo of the cantilever of the atomic force microscope on the emulsion droplet
Schematic picture of the study of interaction of emulsion droplets with the use of atomic force microscope (AFM)


Study of emulsion droplets

A study of interaction of drops in disperse systems is of great interest for science and technology. Currently this problem is the object of active research due to a variety of the processes controlled by droplet dynamics both in natural and industrial systems. The description of the interaction of individual structural elements at the micro level is the base for understanding of the physical effects at the macro level, including the stability of the emulsion to various perturbations.


Pictures of topography (left) and phase (right) of the nanobubbles on hydrophobic substrate obtained using AFM



Study of nanobubbles

Surface nanobubbles are the nanoscale gas-filled spherical cap objects placed on a solid surface. The lifetime of nanobubbles can be more than 20 hours. They are expected to strongly affect the slip at the solid-liquid interfaces, which is crucial for many problems in micro- and nanofluidics.


3D topographic image of the asphaltene film


Study of films

Asphaltenes are the largest molecules found in crude oils. The amount and composition of asphaltens depend on the oil fraction separation techniques. Moreover it is known that asphaltenes aggregate well even in very good solvents. They can occur in the form of monomers, dimers or multimers. Many researchers have noticed that the molecular structure of various components of asphaltenes is still unknown. Traditional petroleum processing methods cause concentration of resin-asphaltene substances in heavy oil residues (tars and bitumen). The study of asphaltene films should result in development of new technologies for enhanced oil recovery.


The results can be used to improve the petroleum processing technology and petroleum reservoir engineering as well as for the development of microfluidic devices