Scanning Probe Techniques to Study Interfacial Phenomena at the Nanoscale Level

Publishing date
01 Dec 2022
Submission deadline
22 Jul 2022

Lead Editor

1Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, China

2Mississippi State University, Mississippi, Mississippi, USA

3Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, Beijing, China

4Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA

Scanning Probe Techniques to Study Interfacial Phenomena at the Nanoscale Level


Scanning probe techniques represent a broad range of nano-characterization techniques that utilize a nanoscopic probe to map, visualize, and extract critical local surface and interface properties of materials with high spatial resolution. After the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), atomic force microscope (AFM), magnetic force microscope (MFM), electric force microscope (EFM), scanning near-field optical microscope (SNOM), and many other methods sharing similar working principles and named as scanning probe microscopes (SPM) have been introduced. To date, the rapid development of scanning probe-based techniques has revolutionized and catalyzed research across a rich variety of areas, ranging from nanomaterials, biosystems, to exotic quantum materials. Over the past two decades, technical advancements, including novel instrumentation approaches and data processing algorithms, have enabled the application of these techniques to investigate interface phenomena at multiple scales (micro, nano, cellular, molecular, and even atomic scales) and in multiple dimensions (spatial and temporal).

Characterization with nanometer precision as the basis for nanotechnology has attracted incredible attention in recent years because critical processes, such as charge transport, energy transfer and dissipation, cellular signaling in organisms, intercellular receptor recognition, and composite material construction all occur at the interfaces at the nanoscale. With the rapid development of scanning probe techniques, research in the fields of biology, medicine, and materials science has migrated from micro to nanoscale to gain deeper insights into the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials with single-molecule (or even atom) precision. The ability to gather nanoscopic insights on the interface phenomena opens the opportunity for thoroughly revealing the underlying mechanisms along with the corresponding structural, biological, and mechanical properties, and therefore holds the promise to further identify promising solutions to existing challenges in many related areas, such as new materials for sustainable energy, optoelectronics, accurate diagnosis, and disease treatment.

With the goal of providing an open platform to highlight recent advances in scanning probe technology, this Special Issue focuses on the characterization and understanding of interfacial phenomena at the nanoscopic level, including but not limited to solid-solid, solid-liquid, solid-soft matter, or solid-biomaterials, biomaterial-biomaterials interfaces. Related works on advanced scanning probe techniques and their practical applications in the above areas are encouraged. We welcome both original research and review articles.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Revolutionized research on expanding scanning applications at multiple scales and in multiple dimensions
  • Characterization and measuring of the interface phenomena at the nanoscopic level
  • Scanning probe techniques such as scanning tunneling microscope, atomic force microscope, magnetic force microscope, electric force microscope, and scanning near-field optical microscope
  • The interaction details at solid-solid, solid-liquid, solid-soft matter, or solid-biomaterials, biomaterial-biomaterials interfaces
  • Scanning technology applications on materials science
  • Deeper insights into the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials
  • In vitro and in vivo scanning of humans, animals, and plants
  • High-resolution strategy for characterization and measuring with single-molecule (or even atom) precision
  • Characterization and measuring new materials for sustainable energy, accurate diagnosis, and disease treatment
  • Various characterization of surface morphology, electronic potential, and viscosity

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