Applications

In situ real-time monitoring of molecular processes and nanomaterials at surfaces and interfaces

Insplorion’s technology is extremely sensitive to changes in optical properties in the first few tens of nanometers from a surface. Our instrumentation enables a broad application base, with ultra-sensitive measurements both in gas and liquid phase. The combination of technology and instrumentation enables detailed studies of the effect of broad range temperature changes, light triggers, nanotopography, chemistry and more.

Processes/Phenomena that have been monitored

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  • Adsorption/desorption/binding
  • Phase transitions - Conformational changes
  • Chemical reactions on/in thin films or nanoparticles
  • Sensing
  • Diffusion in porous thin films
  • Light triggered/sensitive processes
  • Temperature triggered/sensitive processes

Analytes that have been used on Insplorion sensors

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  • SAMs
  • Thin and ultrathin films
  • Porous materials
  • Proteins, Lipids, peptides, DNA etc
  • A large range of gases
  • Oxides, Nitrides and hydrides etc
  • Liquid crystals

Application fields among our users around the world

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  • Biomolecular interactions
  • Catalysis and surface physics
  • DSSC and perovskite solar cells
  • Polymer physics

Biomolecular Interactions

Unique applications for Biomolecular Interactions using real-time LSPR

Insplorion’s NPS technology is an effective method for real-time in-situ studies of kinetic processes at molecular interfaces. The technique is label free, extremely surface sensitive and compatible with both thin- and thick films. Insplorion’s sensors consist of an array of gold nanodisks on a glass plate. Temperature can be varied very flexibly and the sensors can be coated with a variety of chemistries depending on what the Insplorion instrument should measure. If you have a challenge where our technology might help you, please contact us at sales@insplorion.com.

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Different sensor coatings are available for tailored surface chemistry and/or linking chemistry. Standard sensor chemistry: SiO2, Si3N4, TiO2 and Al2O3 allows for modification with for example , SAMs, Silanes, Polymers. Custom coatings are available on request, please contact us at sales@insplorion.com.

Drug Delivery

Insplorion NPS can be used to monitor diffusion in polymer films with thickness ranging from microns to a few nanometer as well as porous networks. The Insplorion sensor, with its extreme surface sensitivity, probes the hidden internal interface in thick films. This allows you to determine the time for a diffusing species to reach the interface and saturate the film, as well as monitoring its realease. Quantitative kinetic information such as the diffusion coefficient has in one case been derived from the experiment.

Monitoring Lipid Bilayers and Vesicles

Insplorion’s technology and instrument allows for complete experiments wherein both lipid bilayer formation and interactions with biomolecules and nanoparticles can be monitored. The extreme sensitivity to optical property changes near the surface also enables structural information to be obtained, for example on shape of vesicles.

Molecular Binding and Biorecognition

Insplorion NPS is suitable for biomolecular interaction analysis. By monitoring the immobilization of a capturing agent (ligand) to the Insplorion sensor and then introduce the analyte via the fluid system of the Insplorion instrument, quantitative information, as affinity constants, can be determined. 

Material Science

Insplorion’s NPS technology measures changes in optical properties (refractive index) in the first few tens of nanometers from a sensor surface. Within the broad area of Material Science it has proven especially effective in research on diffusion in porous films, Tg of thin polymer films and hydrogen sensing/storage. Here the Insplorion technology overcomes numerous experimental challenges. If you have a challenge where our technology might help you, contact us at sales@insplorion.com.

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Monitoring the hidden interface between a porous film and substrate

Diffusion of small molecules into and out of a porous material on a small scale is an experimental challenge even for a very well-equipped lab. For drug delivery and other slow release as well as applications where a maximum of material is desired inside the porous matrix is desired, NPS can prove an invaluable tool.

Success stories

NPS has been used to follow the following processes:

  • Time dependence of dye impregnation of mesoporous TiO2 for optimization of Dye Sensitised Solar Cells.
  • Quantification of the diffusion coefficient of the dye in the mesoporous material.

Tg of ultra-thin polymer films and nanostructures/particles

In ultra-thin polymer films the glass transition temperature Tg is known to become size/thickness dependent due to the existence of a near surface layer (a few nm thick), where polymer segments have a different mobility. Insplorion’s NPS technology provides the researcher in the field of thin polymer films with a powerful research tool to study phase transitions.

Success stories

NPS has been successfully used to, among others, address the following phenomena:

  • The thickness dependence of the glass transition temperature (Tg) thin films of atactic poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA).
  • The size dependence of the glass transition temperature (Tg) in polystyrene (PS) nanoparticles.

Hydrogen sensing/storage

Insplorion’s NPS technology provides the researcher in the field of hydrogen storage and solid-state reactions with a new and powerful research tool to overcome numerous experimental challenges. NPS measurements is focused on a well-defined model system with a small amount of sample in a well-controlled microenvironment at “in operando” conditions. This leads to minimized gradients of all kinds, as well as distortions from broad particle size distribution. The high time resolution enables fast processes to be monitored typical in solid state reactions at high temperatures.

Success stories

INPS has been successfully used to, amongst others, address the following issues in the area of hydrogen storage in nanosized storage entities:

  • The size dependence of the hydriding and dehydriding kinetics in Pd nanoparticles for particles in the D < 5 nm size range.
  • The size dependence of hydride formation and decomposition thermodynamics in Pd nanoparticles in the D < 5 nm size range.
  • A study of the size dependent hysteresis between hydride formation and decomposition in metallic nanoparticles.
  • Quantitative single particle investigations of hydride formation thermodynamics in Mg and Pd nanoparticles.

Solar Cells

Improving performance and your knowledge on DSSCs and perovskite solar cells

Insplorion’s NPS technology is used in R&D improving the performance of solar cells. The real time sensor technology gives reliable and consistent measurements of the different coatings for the light receiving coating. For example, the dye impregnation step of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells can be monitored in detail using an Insplorion instrument and the thermal propertes, i.e. Tg of ultrathin relevant polymer films can be determined. If you want to know how our technology can enable you in your solar cell research, contact us at sales@insplorion.com.

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Insplorion has together with Prof. Michael Grätzel's group at EPFL in Switzerland and researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, successfully applied Insplorion's concept, Indirect Nanoplasmonic Sensing, for studies of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells. The studies have focused on molecule adsorption in the thin films of TiO2 that the solar cells consist of. The studies are presented in Nano Letters.

Improves the solar cell performance

Michael Grätzel, who truly is world-leading in the area of solar cells (Millennium Price 2010, Albert Einstein Awards 2012, etc.) says the following about Insplorion's technology: “I find Insplorion’s technology extremely interesting for studies of dye impregnation of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells. It is likely to become a valuable tool to improve the dye impregnation process and thus the performance of DSCs.”