Preview of MRS 2017

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It’s time for the annual fall meeting of MRS, which always takes place in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center and adjacent Sheraton Hotel the week after Thanksgiving (November 27-30). As I had mentioned in a previous blog, this MRS meeting has become the premier AFM symposium in North America.  We had a break last year due to some logistical issues, but a 4-day symposium is back this year and is looking very strong and exciting. 

Before I dive into some details on the AFM symposium, there is also a very strong, week-long symposium on in situ studies of materials transformations that would interest the electron microscopy and scattering audience.  There are multiple dedicated TEM sessions (in situ HR TEM, Liquid TEM, Gas TEM) and X-ray and neutron scattering  sessions.  A full listing of this symposium can be found here.  

The title of AFM symposium this year is a mouthful:  Multifunctional and Multifrequency scanning probe microscopy, meant to emphasize some of the emerging and more sophisticated measurements possible with this constantly developing and advancing tool.   The symposium starts with a full-day Sunday tutorial (Nov 26) that is associated both with the AFM symposium and the Ion Beam Technology and Applications symposium “Advanced Imaging and Spectral Data Analysis via multivariate statistics methods.”  It is meant to be a characterization cross-platform tutorial aimed at presenting strategies to analyze time-dependent and frequency-dependent data.  As a veteran SPM-er, the description of this tutorial seems to include very advanced topics based on machine learning.  Three out of the four topics involved “supervised or unsupervised learning”. I had to look up what that meant!  So, to be honest, I’m not sure how this would be helpful to a classic microscopy crowd (including SPM, EM, etc.) and I would hope the target audience is here is broader than just machine language experts.

The research symposium is spread out over a very full 4 days from Monday through Thursday and has the typical focus areas we have come to expect representing research AFM. Symposia are dedicated to mechanical properties, electrical measurements, biological measurements in liquid, and hybrid methods.  Two more unique symposia that caught my eye are dedicated to high resolution achieved under a variety of conditions as well as a symposium dedicated to novel probes exploring novel cantilever design and tip material.  In addition to more traditional property characterization talks, this symposium is sure to showcase the current state of the art in AFM technology and capability.

And of course don’t forget the exhibit Nov 28-Nov 30!  The exhibit is full of AFM equipment manufacturers, probe manufacturers, and software companies to meet all your AFM needs.

See you in Boston!


Dalia Yablon. PhD

SurfaceChar LLC


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