Two groups of scientists — from the UK and from Switzerland — independently of each other had a unique scientific result: a spatial resolution of Raman spectroscopy is less than 20 nm. Integrates these works is that the results obtained were with the help of a Russian unit — INTEGRA Spectra production of NT-MDT
Among the spectroscopic methods one of the most important and informative is Raman spectroscopy. This modern optical method provides information on the state of the atoms and molecules in their specific environment: in particular crystalline lattice in a given solution and at a specific temperature conditions. However, the spatial resolution of any optical method is limited by diffraction. It is impossible to focus the light beam spot is less than half wavelength in diameter. Thus, the resolution limit of the visible light is about 200 nm.
With the development of modern science research methods allowed to step beyond diffraction. Back in 2006, scientists develop NT-MDT Co. has combined the two research approaches: a Raman spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy (SPM), which allowed to conduct research with subwavelength spatial resolution.
Feature a combination of SPM + CD is that on the edge of a scanning microscope under certain conditions result in giant enhancement of Raman signal. As a result, the signal from the probe tip to get dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of times stronger. It is not limited to the diffraction limit, and the area around the tip size, which is amplified.
Developers NT-MDT was the first to create for such studies commercially available device (Integra Spectrum) and has adjusted its production. Although the principle of giant amplification of Raman scattering using a sharp probe microscope known for a long, long time, no one could get a microscopic image with the help of Raman spectra with a resolution of less than 50 nm. And in 2010 came just two publications in which researchers with different configurations Nanolaboratory INTEGRA Spectra have a spatial resolution of less than 20 nm!
Professor Sergei Kazarian and Dr. Andrew Chan (Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, UK) conducted studies of carbon nanotubes arranged on a transparent substrate. As a result, managed to get a picture of the individual single-wall nanotubes with a resolution of 14 nm. The work is published in the journal Nanotechnology.
Professor R. Zenobia and colleagues (Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland) examined a sample of nanoscale particles of organic dye deposited on an opaque substrate. They received image using Raman spectroscopy with a spatial resolution of 15 nm. The work is published in the journal Nano Letters.
INTEGRA Spectra, which allowed to obtain such results, in 2006, joined the list of 100 best developments in the world by U.S. magazine R &D 100, in 2010, was awarded the prestigious consultancy Frost &Sullivan «Best Practices Award» for the most promising scientific development from the point of view of the possibilities industrial commercialization.