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Title: Opto-nanomechanical spectroscopic material characterization

Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel of considerable potential in the search for sustainable and renewable bioenergy [1,2]. However, while rich in carbohydrates [3], the plant cell walls exhibit a natural resistance to complex phenotype treatments such as enzymatic microbial deconstruction, heat and acid treatments that can remove the lignin polymers from cellulose before hydrolysis [5]. Noninvasive physical and chemical characterization of the cell walls and the effect of such treatments on biomass are challenging but necessary to understand and overcome such resistance [6]. Although lacking chemical recognition in their traditional forms, the various emerging modalities of nano-mechanical [7] and opto-nano-mechanical [8] force microscopies [9,10] provide a superb window into the needed nanoscale material characterization [6]. Infrared absorption spectroscopy is a powerful, non- destructive and ultra-sensitive technique that can provide the needed molecular fingerprinting but the photothermal channel is delocalized and thus lacks spatial resolution. Utilizing the emerging dynamic concepts of mode synthesizing atomic force microscopy (MSAFM) [11] and virtual resonance [12], we introduce a hybrid photonic and nanomechanical force microscopy (hp-MSAFM) with molecular recognition and characterize the extraction, holopulping and acid treatment of biomass. We present spatially and spectrally resolved cell wall images that reveal both the morphological and themore » compositional alterations of the cell walls. The measured biomolecular traits are in agreement with chemical maps obtained with infrared and confocal Raman micro-spectroscopies of the same samples. The presented findings should prove highly relevant in fields such as cancer research [13], nanotoxicity [14], energy storage and production [15], where morphological, chemical and subsurface studies of nanocomposites [16], nanoparticle uptake by cells [14], and nanoscale quality control [17] are in demand.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Nanotechnology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-3387
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States