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Atomic Force Microscopy

(Nanoscope IIIA)

The atomic force microscope (AFM) is a class of scanning probe microscopes, which provides information on the surface properties at the nanometer scale. AFM measures the force between a sharp tip and the surface of the sample. This sharp scanning probe, which is mounted over a flexible cantilever, moves along the sample at short distances in the range of 0.2 to 10 nm. When the sharp tip and the surface are sufficiently close, an interaction due to intermolecular forces occur. This interaction force deflects the cantilever and laser/detector system measures the corresponding deflection. The force is solely dependent on the cantilever constant and the distance between the sample and scanning probe tip. The bending of the probe and vertical – horizontal deflection of the cantilever is monitored during the surface analysis and then detected by a laser that is reflected from the back of the scanning probe to obtain the topography of the sample surface.

(Edited by Jiezhen Xie)