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Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) consists of a family of microscopy forms where a sharp probe is scanned across a surface and some probe/sample interactions are monitored.

The SPM has become popular because of the volume of nanometer-scale information it provides. Unlike conventional microscopes that provide direct images of an object, scanning probe microscopes provide data in the form of topographic relief images. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is one of the forms of SPM. AFM is used to image and explore nanoscale features and structures of surfaces, both in air and in liquid.

Topography of surfaces can be obtained normally by two different modes, contact mode and tapping mode. However, tapping mode is normally used for soft, adhesive or fragile samples since imposed force on samples by tapping mode is much weaker than that by contact mode. If the sample is conductive, scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) is recommended to get images with higher resolution.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Digital Instruments Inc.
Model: MultiMode MM-AFM2

  • Scanner: 125 μm x 125 μm in area with 5 μm vertical range
  • Sample size: max. 12 mm x 12 mm in area and 5mm thick
  • Nanoscope IIIa controller: 16bit resolution on all three axes
  • Contact and Tapping mode
  • Can map out magnetic domains using magnetic-force microscopy, charge distribution using electrostatic force microscopy, density of states using scanning tunnelling microscopy, and elastic properties using force modulation imaging.


Associated Groups/Units