Atoms at School
Develop a super-low-cost microscope featuring atomic level interaction, specifically designed for students and teachers.
About this project
Atoms at School
This Project aims to realize a novel educational instrument, very sophisticated but very low-cost, so as to offer the opportunity to most high-schools and universities to get one.
It will be a new-concept microscope working on the principle of atomic interaction between a tip and the sample to observe. It comes from the world of Atomic Force Microscopy (what is this ?) , featuring all its basic principles but in a simple fashion. The precision of this novel instrument will fit in between the low resolution of an optical microscope and the extremely high resolution of very expensive instruments. Indeed our device will exploit the full set of features of a typical atomic force microscope, thus allowing students to get all the learning insights of this amazing and extremely educational technology
1 – What
We want to design and realize the electronics, mechanics and software of an extremely low-cost Atomic Force Microscope with a specific educational philosophy.
2 – Why
Because if, on one hand, the AFM is recognized as an optimal device to learn the insights of many branches of knowledge, from Physics to Chemistry, from Biology to Surface Matter and Electronics, on the other hand, unfortunately its normal huge price (several 10k dollars) prevents its spreading exactly where it would be most useful: in the schools.
We want to bridge the gap between the usually-low school budgets and the great benefits of a modern educational instrument.
3 – How
We will build the microscope by combining our proven experience in the field (tell me more about) with a novel low-cost, high-performance technology platform that we have recently developed (read about it !) . We have also investigated new actuators coming form the audio world, with the added value to skip the need of high voltages, which makes them cheaper and, above all, safer, especially considering that the students will be the typical end-users.
Press: MicroSolution by Microchip® Feb 2016
Extending a Raspberry Pi ® Mini PC with Real-time Capabilities for Advanced Atomic Force Microscopy Applications
Rewards for our pledges:
“You are an important tile of the project…”
€ 25,00 or more: Your name and surname on the instrument’s enclosure composed by jigsaw puzzle sides + Official Certificate stating that you are a Backer of this project.
€ 150,00 or more: Your name and surname on the instrument’s enclosure composed by jigsaw puzzle sides + Official Certificate stating that you are a Backer of this project+a jigsaw puzzle tile personalized with your name and surname
€ 300,00 or more: Your name and surname on the instrument’s enclosure composed by jigsaw puzzle sides + Official Certificate stating that you are a Backer of this project+a jigsaw puzzle tile personalized with your name and surname+free Tshirt of the Project
Our rewards are not yet finalized, but the pictures below give an idea of what we have in mind:
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges
The risks related to the actual project are minimal, since we have already tested all its basic functional blocks in our earlier instruments. The main risk can be related to the development of a low-cost, low-voltage mechanical measuring head, which is actually at the stage of “proof of principle”.
Our skill in the field should give the necessary confidence of a successful outcome. In fact, in our history, we have realized many projects about AFM microscopy and related instruments. For example, we have completed as required the “CNR 5% Nanotechnology project” by the National Council of Research of Italy related to the “development of an AFM instrument with nanotubes functionalized cantilevers”. In addition we won and fulfilled an European Tender by University Mikolaja Kopernika of Torun, Poland, for the design and realization of modular medium voltage power supplies, and other projects as well.
The challenge to build a novel AFM microscope is therefore definitely affordable.