Introduction: Spotting/Nanolithography


FluidFM is a uniquely versatile nanolithography tool due to three reasons:

  1. The closed microchannels allow FluidFM to operate both in air and liquid environment.
  2. The robust FluidFM probe is compatible with a wide range of fluids: Such as buffer solutions, solvents and gases. Exotic customer fluids include highly viscose protein solutions and liquid mercury. 
  3. The AFM base guarantees nanometer precision and gentle contact with the surface.

The following image shows fL sized glycerol spots which were deposited with FluidFM on a glass surface. 

Spotting of glycerol on glass substrate.The distance between two spots in this example is 15 um. Image courtesy of Nanosurf AG.

Two published examples of FluidFM spotting:

  • FluidFM was used to locally deliver a single virus particle onto a cell. This allowed to monitor infection statistics and to deduce properties of the infection mechanism. Details and protocols were published in Stiefel et al. (2012), Nano Letters, 12(8).
  • FluidFM was also used for the targeted delivery of polystyrene nanospheres in liquid with nanometer precision. How this can be achieved was published in Grüter et al. (2013), Nanoscale, 5(3).


Delivery of such small quantities is achieved by gently touching a surface with a chosen contact force and then releasing the liquid with a precise pressure pulse.

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