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Proceedings Paper

Potential challenges in near-field scanning optical microscopy for space applications
Author(s): Chandra S. Vikram; William K. Witherow
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Paper Abstract

Near-field scanning optical microscope is a relatively new but very powerful technique for obtaining several metrological parameters at nanometer range spatial resolution. It is logical to think of deploying it into space applications like diagnostics of protein crystals growth under microgravity conditions. One may attempt to deploy existing instrumentation and expect some results. However, the existing technology and commercial instrumentation is tailored to ground based laboratory situations. Even in those laboratory conditions, the role of fluids (common in crystal growth), rough objects (such as a crystal under growth), etc. on the instrumentation is only recently under investigation. These aspects combined with the effects of reduced gravity environment will make the problem more complex. These technological challenges must be tackled for meaningful system operation in space. Since the microscopy concept has not yet been attempted to space, the actual problems are unknown. Nevertheless, based on current literature, some possible problems and potential solutions are described here. One may use the discussion for system modification/optimization during initial use of this kind of microscopy in space.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 September 2000
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 4098, Optical Devices and Diagnostics in Materials Science, (29 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.401628
Show Author Affiliations
Chandra S. Vikram, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)
William K. Witherow, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4098:
Optical Devices and Diagnostics in Materials Science
David L. Andrews; David L. Andrews; Toshimitsu Asakura; Suganda Jutamulia; Wiley P. Kirk; Max G. Lagally; Ravindra B. Lal; James D. Trolinger, Editor(s)

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