The purpose of this project is to develop a cantilever-based optical interfacial force microscope (COIFM) with lateral modulation (CLM) to study interfacial water confined between two surfaces both in ambient and fluid environments. The CLM enables us to measure both normal and friction forces between two surfaces without the snap-to-contact problem associated with conventional atomic force microscope systems, by using a voltage-activated force feedback. The three-year project consists of two years of development phase and one year of research phase using the instrument. During the development phase, the PI and students will design and construct the CLM, and will demonstrate its capability by revealing the hidden structure of interfacial water. During the research phase, the CLM will contribute to diverse interfacial water research projects across several disciplines, including physics, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. The successful development of the CLM will allow us to explore the origin of the surprising oscillatory forces found recently by our existing COIFM, as the nanoscale distance between two surfaces was varied. The CLM will also be applied to investigate the roles of water in inter-molecular/ inter-surface friction and in the reduction of the friction in water-based bio-materials such as artificial cartilage. The hands-on experience acquired through this project will help prepare students for competitive placement in graduate programs or careers in nano/biotech industries. Three graduate and three undergraduate students will be involved in the research project for over a three-year period. In addition, the project will help develop a biophysics curriculum strand for a future interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Biomolecular Sciences at Boise State University.

Nontechnical Abstract

The purpose of this project is to develop a cantilever-based optical interfacial force microscope (COIFM) with lateral modulation (CLM) to study interfacial water at the molecular scale. This CLM will enable us to measure interfacial forces generated by interfacial water for all distance ranges between two surfaces. The CLM's force-distance curves will provide unprecedented information on interfacial water to understand its structure and mechanical properties. The three-year project consists of two years of development phase and one year of research phase using the instrument. During the development phase, the PI and students will design and construct the CLM, and will demonstrate its capability by revealing the hidden structure of interfacial water. During the research phase, the CLM will be applied to investigating the roles of water in (1) mediating inter-molecular interactions between two surfaces, and in (2) reducing the friction in water-based bio-materials, such as artificial cartilage. This instrument will promote research collaborations among disciplines, including physics, biology, chemistry, and biochemistry. It will greatly improve the research infrastructure at Boise State University (BSU) and the surrounding areas, as BSU is the only research-level educational institution in southwestern Idaho, which is the population center of the state. In addition, the project will help develop a biophysics curriculum strand for a future Ph.D. program at BSU. This project will provide research opportunities for three graduate and three undergraduate students over a three-year period.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1126854
Program Officer
Charles E. Bouldin
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-10-01
Budget End
2014-09-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$342,001
Indirect Cost
Name
Boise State University
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
boise
State
ID
Country
United States
Zip Code
83725