Fundamentals of AFM & Why Metal Surfaces Matter

What can we use to probe sample surfaces beyond visible light? Electron beams are ideal for powerful magnifications many orders of magnitude greater than that of optical microscopy. But when we are dealing with resolutions of nanometre (nm) and sub-nm proportions, resolving power isn’t the final word. This is partly because researchers are spoilt for choice when it comes to molecular-scale imaging solutions.

Custom Metal Coatings from Platypus Tech

Surface science covers a multitude of chemical and physical interactions occurring at the boundary between one phase and another. Wherever a substrate is deployed, it has been engineered with some consideration for the unique dynamics occurring at its uppermost surface layers in end-use conditions. At Platypus Technologies, we provide custom metal coatings for precision surface engineering and sub-microscopic investigations.

Gold-Coated Silicon Wafers in Electrochemistry

Gold-coated surfaces play an increasingly important role in precision imaging of various biochemical phenomena. There are many unique qualities that make gold surfaces ideal for atomic-scale observations, including near-total (>99%) reflectivity in the infrared (IR) region and useful adsorption properties with bioactive implications. This has proven pivotal in various forms of IR spectroscopy, where gold-coated glass is used as a substrate for biomolecules of interest. But glass and mica are not the only substrates used for microscopy-grade gold thin films.

Gold-Coated Substrates in COVID-19 Research

Gold-coated glass is extremely valuable in high-resolution imaging applications. We talked about this at length recently, extolling the unique adsorption mechanics and infrared (IR) reflectivity of gold thin films as critical virtues for niche areas of experimentation. The key takeaway from that article was this: Provided your thin film is extremely high purity and topographically uniform at the atomic scale, your gold-coated substrate should provide a flawless surface for detailed microscopic or spectroscopic observations.

Gold-Coated Silicon Wafers: Properties & Applications

Since the 1960s, silicon technology has been revolutionizing the way we think about electronic devices and digital communications. Gold-coated silicon wafers represent another step on that exponential trajectory of innovation in semiconductor technology, combining the inherent electrical properties of silicon with the unique optical and physicochemical characteristics of gold. Provided the composite is engineered with absolute precision, gold-coated silicon wafers can be used in critical nanophotonic applications.

Gold-Coated Glass: Properties & Applications

It goes without saying that gold is an incredibly valuable material, but its value in the combined fields of microscopy and spectroscopy extend far beyond the superficial. Gold thin films deposited uniformly onto transparent glass or mica have useful optical properties, including selective reflectivity and transmissivity. Provided that gold-coated glass can be engineered with extremely precise planarity at, or approaching, the atomic range, it can be readily leveraged in a range of high-resolution imaging techniques that push conventional optical limits.

Cell Migration, Cell Invasion & Wound Healing Explained

Cell migration is an extremely complex phenomenon. A motile single cell, or multicell aggregate, that penetrates through the extracellular matrix of neighboring tissues can be described as invasive. Cells grouped into coherent sheets, strands, or tubes may undergo a form of collective cell migration governed by tight intercellular connections. The former mechanism is characteristic of metastatic growth, while the latter is associated with wound healing. How can seemingly similar cellular mechanisms result in such dramatically different outcomes?

Principles of Cell Migration

Platypus Technologies is a fast-growing provider of cell migration assays for precise and reproducible experimentation, from academia to the pharmaceutical sector. Our core competency revolves around the cell exclusion zone technology, an innovative, high-throughput cellular assay with real-time monitoring capabilities, and negligible margins of error. This represents a significant step forward for researchers in various clinical fields.

Cell Migration Assay Applications: Pharma Industry

Dynamic cellular migration is of interest to biochemists in various areas of research and development (R&D). This process refers to the movement of individual cells or cellular clusters from one location to another, typically in response to some chemical or mechanical signal. Pharmaceutical companies have been particularly invested in studying cell migration and invasion as these processes underlie an extremely wide range of pathological phenomena – thus offering significant promise for generating valuable pharmacological interventions.

Cell Migration Assay Applications: Research

Understanding cellular invasion and migration is important for studying a wide range of biological processes. By observing the directed rate of movement of cells in response to chemical or mechanical signals, researchers can investigate processes as varied as metastasis and wound healing. Historically, this has proven difficult due to a lack of efficient and reproducible methods for quantitatively assessing cell migration.

What is a Cell Migration Assay?

Cellular migration refers to the movement of cells from one location to another, usually in response to some chemical or mechanical signal. It is fundamental to an extremely wide range of organic processes, from the developmental (i.e. embryogenesis) to ongoing biological maintenance (i.e. tissue repair). Using a cell migration assay, it is possible to measure the net migration and rate of migration for cellular populations in vitro and thus gain an understanding of various bioorganic mechanisms.

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of Ultra-flat Gold Surfaces

New STM imaging study reveals stunning atomic-scale details on Ultra-flat Gold Surfaces.

Ultra-flat gold surfaces enable high signal-to-noise imaging for AFM and STM applications.  Because of their ultra-smooth topography, these surfaces have been used to study 2D materials, single strands of DNA, self-assembled monolayers, nano-plasmonic devices, and cell membrane monolayers.    

Cell Invasion Assays for Cancer Research

Cell invasion across the basement membrane is an important step in cancer metastasis.  Metastasis occurs when cancer cells pass through the basement membrane of the organ where they originated, and subsequently spread into different organs of the body, where they form secondary tumors [1].  

Comparison of the Oris Cell Migration Assay to the Scratch Assay

Cell migration is integral to many physiological processes, including embryonic development, tissue regeneration, and wound healing.  In addition, cell migration is involved in tumor metastasis and atherosclerosis.[1]  One assay commonly used to study cell migration in vitro is the scratch assay.  The scratch assay is performed by creating a cell-free gap, or “scratch”, on a confluent cell monolayer upon which cells at the edge of the opening move inward to close the scratch.  Cell migration can be assessed by comparing images captured at the onset of the scratch creation and at user-defined intervals during scratch closure.  The scratch assay is straightforward to perform and is inexpensive.  However, methods for creating the scratch vary from lab to lab and results can be highly variable.  Furthermore, the process of scratch formation has been shown to damage the underlying extracellular matrix (ECM).[2] 

Counting Cells in Migration Assays with ImageJ

This application note describes a method to measure cell migration, using ImageJ, by counting the number of cells that have migrated into the Detection Zone in an Oris™ Cell Migration Assay. ImageJ is a freeware image analysis program developed at the National Institutes of Health (https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/).

Cells on the Move: Do surface coatings influence cell migration?

Experiments show that surface coatings play an important role in cell movement

When performing cell migration experiments, a perennial question is: what surface coatings should be used to culture a particular cell type? Scientists working in Cancer Research, Wound Healing, or Drug Discovery utilize cell cultures to make important experiments and advance our understanding of biological mechanisms.  In particular, assays for cell migration enable characterization of conditions and substances that influence movement of cells.  For example, scientists using the OrisTM Cell Migration Assays successfully identified proteins, mRNA and antioxidants that inhibit migration of tumor cells.