Investigating the surface and the interface - Experimental studies in soft matter and biological systems

The talk will focus on surface and interface studies at the nanoscale in soft matter and bio-systems. In soft matter systems, experimental observations on amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers (eg. Phase segregation and self-assembly behaviour in ultra-thin films of polymer hybrid systems studied using a variety of techniques including ToF-SIMS, NanoSIMS, XPS, AFM etc.;  Polymer nucleation and subsequent crystal growth and phase transformations in semi-crystalline nanodroplets followed <em>in-situ</em>, in real time using high temperature AFM) will be presented. In studies on biological systems, the instrument development done for video rate AFM in order to image <em>in-vivo</em> microbial cells and cellular processes will be touched upon. A novel technique developed using photolithography for cell immobilization in order to carry out AFM imaging in liquid, cell wall architecture in bacterial cells examined by high resolution AFM as well as the secondary surface structures in crystalline endospore layers revealed at the sub-nanoscale by cryoEM and electron crystallography will be presented.