Atomic Force Microscopes remain well-known for being the most advanced piece of technology, particularly among those that are in the field of cellular biology. They do this by utilizing a probe, also called a tip. This is what will go into the cell, or rest above it when in no contact mode in order to give a high-resolution image.
In order to guarantee that the best results are achieved, one must take special care with every single piece of equipment. It is of utmost importance that the tips are never played with by small children, and that all members of staff know how to properly use them
When probes are used they often become coated in one substance or another. This is primarily due to them being inserted into a cell or substance, or to them being coated in a substance in order to achieve the desired results. While this is necessary, it is also necessary that they are properly cleaned afterwards to keep up them.
Plasma cleaning is one popular method for removing substances from an atomic force microscope tip. Plasma cleaning does not have restraints like most cleaning solutions do. Whether it is uneven or porous, plasma cleaning can still effectively clean it. It also only effects the surface of the material, meaning that people do not have to worry that their atomic force microscope tip will need replaced sooner than usual.
In addition to these benefits, plasma cleaning can help clean awkwardly shaped material, and guarantee that it gets into every single crack and crevice, completely cleaning off the surface and the materials that are on it so that the instrument is ready for use the next time.
Using a plasma cleaning method to clean atomic force microscope probes is also extremely cost efficient and easy for beginners. It does not need the purchase of several chemicals, and people will not be required to carefully mix chemicals to get the best results. This is also easier to use than other chemical treatments and processes.
In addition to all the other benefits listed, plasma cleaning is often classified as an environmentally friendly method of cleaning. The material to be cleaned is placed into a chamber, and the worker is little to no contact with anything inside the chamber. Because of this, virtually no chemicals are released into the air. The materials that are used during this process are not hazardous materials that are harmful to the environment.
While some caution that plasma cleaning should be done carefully to prevent damage from happening, this method of cleaning is extremely common for an atomic force microscope probes, and often does not cause damage to them. If individuals are hesitant about trying plasma cleaning, other forms of cleaning are also available, such as cleaning by using chemicals and other treatments.
Many of the other methods are not environmentally friendly, and they are not as highly recommended as plasma cleaning, but they are still highly effective at removing substances from an atomic force microscope probe. When considering other methods of cleaning these fragile pieces of equipment, it is important to take previous experience into consideration, as well as the pros and cons of the different methods.
For example, if an individual is not comfortable mixing chemical solutions together, they should not use this method of cleaning if they do not have to, especially when other effective methods are available.
Individuals are encouraged to explore all the cleaning methods to find one that is perfect for them. It is important to remember that making sure that the product is properly maintained is the most important thing, and the only way to get high-resolution images every single time.