Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM)
Ionscope is the world-leader in Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM), a rapidly emerging Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) technique which allows nanoscale topographical mapping of soft and delicate surfaces.
The Ionscope Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM) is a state-of-the-art nanometre imaging system. It comprises a scan head, a controller, and data-acquisition systems. The robust mechanical design of the Ionscope SICM ensures high precision measurements. It can be used as a standalone system or integrated with an inverted light (or confocal) microscope. The ionscope image software offers a variety of supported modes and in-built system functions such as automated immersion, surface detection, real-time ion current display, real-time 2D and 3D display of images as they are formed.
What a Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM) does
Ionscope’s SICM combines ease of sample preparation with non-destructive high resolution imaging in:
- Living cells and tissues
- Artificial structures
SICM’s unique conductance feedback captures details of soft and delicate surfaces to understand:
- Morphological changes
- Physiological processes
- Surface chemistry
SICM-SECM gold nanoparticles
Ionscope’s microscopes can place a probe over an imaged 3D surface to perform or simultaneously generate a map for:
- Targeted patch-clamping
- Optical and Electrochemical analysis
- Integration with multiple techniques
- Deposition and extraction of material
(Courtesy of Dr. O’Connell and Dr. Wain, NPL)
How a Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM) system works
Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) acquires topographic images of surfaces in electrolyte solutions. Images are created by scanning a (glass or quartz) nanopipette probe over the sample whilst measuring the ion current through the pipette. As the probe approaches the sample surface the ion current decreases; the Z position is recorded when the ion current has dropped by a predefined amount.
This unique feedback mechanism allows the nanopipette to avoid physical contact with the sample – meaning that SICM is particularly well suited for imaging soft samples such as live cells. SICM non- destructively images convoluted features that other systems would damage.
The Ionscope Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope (SICM) system
- Large scan range and sample stage travel range.
- Accurate positioning with nanometre resolution.
- Low noise level in the system.
- Easy access to pipette and sample area.
- Fit a wide range of inverted microscopes.
- Interface control and feedback signals.
- FPGA provides advanced signal processing for pipette positioning and current detection.
- Auxiliary input allow signals from external device to be displayed in synchronisation with detection of threshold ion current and pipette position.
- User friendly interface allows easy configuration, control, measurement and display of system and data.
- Database with search functions.
- Dynamic 2D and 3D images.
- Controls hopping mode and also supports Approach Curve and Manual Approach operations