Atomic Force Microscope

NanoScope IIIa AFM

The NanoScope instrument provides topographic imaging down to the atomic scale, with lateral resolution of 1 Ang (0.1 nm) and vertical resolution down to 0.1 Ang (0.01 nm). The instrument is versatile enough to scan large and small areas with equal resolution and to scan wet surfaces. Alternative feedback modes allow a variety of material properties to be mapped.

Atomic Force Microscopy

AFM is a scanning probe technique; a very sharp tip at the end of a cantilever is scanned across the surface and the tip-surface interaction is tracked to map the topography of the surface. The AFM usually operates in an air environment, no special chamber is required. Different modes of the AFM allow it to measure wet surfaces and additional feedback and sensing operations allow it to measure magnetic fields, ferroelectric domains and charge density.

In its basic mode, as it scans the AFM monitors either the deflection of the cantilever or the movement of the scanning head required to maintain a constant deflection. The cantilever deflection is measured by reflecting a laser off its top surface into a position sensitive photodetector.