Nanocalorimetry is still considered as an emerging field from 1970s. Traditional DSC requires relatively large amounts of test material, and thermal analyses on nanoscale samples are difficult. DSCs are limited to taking one measurement at a time, and a new sample must be loaded between each measurement. This severely limits the use of a traditional DSC in combinatorial studies at the nanoscale.
Mecwins offers a solution: a sensitive nanocalorimetric technology based on microcantilever sensors. We present a tecnique for the optical readout of the profile of microcantilever arrays with subnanometer resolution and a processing speed of about ten cantilevers per second.
The technology combines very short response (1 ms) times with very small sample consumption (1 pg). A mass reduction of test material of ten orders of magnitude with respect to conventional DSC measurements.
Cantilevers can be used as precise thermometers or calorimeters by exploiting the bimetallic effect. If the cantilever beam is coated by a material having a different coefficient of thermal expansion than that of the material making up the cantilever itself, it will undergo a deflection as a result of temperature changes.
The use of this bimaterial effect can be utilized to transform the cantilever into a sensitive calorimeter. The small size and heat capacity of micro-cantilevers makes them remarkable calorimeters with picojoule sensitivities and millisecond time resolution, as compared to conventional differential scanning calorimeters.
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