Atomic force microscope

AFM - Veeco Dimension 3100

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a surface characterization technique that probes the surface of a sample with a sharp tip, a couple of microns long and often less than 10 nm in diameter.  It is a versatile tool that can give 2D and 3D images of a surface down to atomic scale. 

The tip is located at the free end of a cantilever and forces between the tip and the sample surface cause the cantilever to bend, or deflect. A detector measures the cantilever deflection as the tip is scanned over the surface of the sample. The measured deflections allow a computer to generate a map of surface topography. Three imaging modes are possible: Contact mode, tapping mode and phase mode.


  • Semiconductor science and technology
  • Surface analysis
  • Natural sciences
  • Physics
  • Molecular engineering
  • Polymer chemistry