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 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 SICM 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 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