Nanoscale Chemical Imaging by Photo-induced Force Microscopy (Albrecht - Molecular Vista)


“Nanoscale Chemical Imaging by Photo-induced Force Microscopy”

Nanoscale Chemical Imaging by Photo-induced Force Microscopy
Vice President of Engineering and Technology
Molecular Vista, Inc.


Correlating spatial chemical information with the morphology of multi-component nanostructures remains a challenge for the scientific community as many such systems are not easily interrogated at the nanometer scale in real space via existing instruments based on optics or electrons. A novel scanning probe technique called Photo-induced Force Microscopy (PiFM) measures the photo-induced polarizability of the sample directly in the near field by detecting the time-integrated force between the tip and sample. Imaging with infrared wavelengths specific to different molecular components, PiFM can resolve the nanometer-scale distribution of individual chemical species in diverse multi-phase and multi-component materials.

When coupled to a widely tunable infrared quantum cascade laser system, a rich spectral analysis mode, which we call hyperspectral imaging, can be realized. A hyperspectral image consists of a PiFM spectrum (which correlates well with bulk FTIR spectra for most species) at each pixel of a (n x n) image. By detecting the molecular infrared absorption via mechanical force measurement on a sharp tip, PiFM achieves spatial resolution that surpasses the diffraction limit by an astonishing factor of ~1000 X. The power and utility of PiFM and hyperspectral imaging will be demonstrated by presenting results on several multi-component nanomaterials, including self-assembled block copolymer patterns, star polymers, polymer blends, asphalt binder, organic photovoltaic materials, and a variety of other materials.

Speaker Background

Thomas Albrecht received a B.A. in physics from Carleton College in 1985 and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1989. His thesis work on atomic force microscopy (AFM) included the first microfabricated cantilevers for AFM and the first demonstration of atomic resolution by AFM. After completing graduate school, Tom worked briefly for Park Scientific Instruments to transfer the fabrication process for microcantilevers and to help develop Park’s first AFM product.
In 1989, Tom joined the IBM Almaden Research Center (San Jose, CA) where his contributions included frequency modulation detection for AFM, and a variety of contributions to magnetic recording technology, such as a track following servo system that became the industry standard for tape drives, load/unload technology for disk drives, and the “Microdrive” – a tiny 1-inch drive that was used in consumer electronics devices such as the Apple iPod Mini. From 2002 to 2004, Tom worked on assignment at the IBM Zurich Research lab (Switzerland), where he contributed to the “Millipede” micromechanical data storage project.
In 2004, Tom joined Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST, San Jose) where he led the company’s patterned media research team for 10 years. The patterned media project involved an ambitious combination of nanofabrication technologies, including e-beam, self-assembly, double patterning, and nanoimprint lithography. In 2013, he was named an HGST Fellow for lifetime contributions to the magnetic data storage industry.
In 2015, Tom joined Molecular Vista (San Jose) as Vice President of Engineering and Technology. Molecular Vista’s products employ a promising new technology combining AFM with optical spectroscopy to provide chemical mapping with nanometer-scale spatial resolution.
Tom has 148 issued U.S. patents and numerous publications.


Tuesday, September 27


Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Len Radzilowski
phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Monday, September 19 for early registration discount.
5:00PM, Monday, September 26 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled Salmon with lemon beurre blanc
Chicken - Breast of Chicken, Portobello
Vegetarian - Mushroom Crepes

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.