Scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) is a scanning probe microscopy (SPM) technique which is well-suited to topographic and chemical mapping of biological and physical interfaces. In SICM, a potential difference applied between an electrode inside an electrolyte-filled nanopipette and a second electrode outside the nanopipette results in a steady-state ion current. This ion current flowing through the pipette is strongly influenced by the relative position between the SICM probe and a sample of interest, providing a feedback signal to precisely control the position of the pipette. These position-dependent changes in conductivity enable SICM to measure both nanoscale features and physical properties of the sample under study.
Recently, we have described a hybrid voltage scanning mode of SICM, termed Potentiometric-SICM (P-SICM) for recording transmembrane ionic conductance at specific nanostructures of synthetic and biological interfaces. With this technique, paracellular conductance through tight junctions – a subcellular structure that has been difficult to interrogate previously – has been realized. P-SICM utilizes a dual-barrel pipet to differentiate paracellular from transcellular transport processes with nanoscale spatial resolution. The unique combination of voltage scanning and topographic imaging enables P-SICM to capture paracellular conductance within a nominal radius of several hundred nm.
Coupling with Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM)
Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM) is a type of scanning probe microscopy that uses faradaic current (i.e. current produced by electron transfer in a redox reaction) to obtain information about a system under study. The probes utilized are termed ultramicroelectrodes because their diameters typically range from 10s of nmto 10s of µm. SECM provides chemical information in image collection, as redox species may be targeted by biasing the probe to a particular potential.
Fabrication of different ultramicroelectrodes from nanopipets incorporates chemical specificity from SECM together with high resolution imaging offered by the robust feedback system of SICM.
a) SEM micrograph of nanopipet-electrode with a clear distinction between the Au electrode (right), quartz (left) and parylene C insulation (top). b) SEM micrograph of a nanopipet tip with PANi ﬁlm on the surface of the AuE post electropolymerization. c) SEM micrograph of a carbon ring/nanopore electrode with an outer radius of 485 nm, inner radius of 295 nm, and nanopore dimensions of 440 nm (diameter).
Baker group publications associated with this research topic:
Thakar, R.; Weber, A.E.; Morris, C.A.; Baker, L. A. Multifunctional Carbon Nanoelectrodes Fabricated by Focused Ion Beam Milling, Analyst, 2013, accepted. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c3an01216f).
Zhou, Y.; Chen, C.C.; Weber, A.; Zhou, L.; Baker, L. A.; Hou, J. Potentiometric-Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy for Measurement at Tight Junctions, Tissue Barriers, 2013, 1, e2558s. (https://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/tissuebarriers/article/25585/).
Morris, C.A.; Chen, C.; Ito, T.; Baker, L. A. Local pH Measurement with Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy. J. Electrochem. Soc., 2013, 160, H430-H435. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1149/2.028308jes).
Chen, C.; Zhou, Y.; Morris, C.A.; Hou, J.; Baker, L.A. Scanning ion conductance microscopy measurement of paracellular conductance in tight junctions. Anal. Chem., 2013, 85, 3621-3628. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac303441n).
Chen, C.; Zhou, Y.; Baker, L.A. Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy. Annu. Rev. Anal. Chem., 2012, 5, 207-228. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anchem-062011-143203).
Zhou, Y.; Chen, C.; Baker, L. A., Heterogeneity of Multiple-pore Membranes Investigated with Ion Conductance Microscopy. Anal. Chem., 2012, 84, 3003-3009. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac300257q).
Morris, C.A.; Chen, C.; Baker, L.A. Transport of Redox Probes through Single Pores Measured by Scanning Electrochemical-Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SECM-SICM). Analyst, 2012, 137, 2933-2938. (http:// dx.doi.org/10.1039/C2AN16178H).
Chen, C.; Zhou, Y.; Baker, L.A. Single nanopore investigations with ion conductance microscopy. ACS Nano, 2011, 5, 8404-8411 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nn203205s).
Sa, N.; Baker, L.A. Rectification of nanopores at surfaces. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 10398-10401. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja203883q)
Morton, K. C.; Morris, C. A.; Derylo, M. A.; Thakar, R.; Baker, L. A. Carbon electrode fabrication from pyrolyzed parylene c. Anal. Chem., 2011, 83, 5447-5452. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac200885w).
Chen, C., Baker, L.A. Effects of pipette modulation and imaging distances on ion currents measured with Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM). Analyst, 2011, 1, 90-97. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C0AN00604A)
Morris, C.; Friedman, A. K.; Baker, L. A. Applications of Nanopipettes in the Analytical Sciences. Analyst, 2010, 135, 2190-2202. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c0an00156b)
Chen, C.; Derylo, M.; Baker, L. A. Measurement of Ion Currents through Porous Membranes with Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy. Anal. Chem., 2009, 81, 4742-4751. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ac900065p)