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Atomic Force Microscopy Applications

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By Author: Park Systems
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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a scanning technique that scans the surface of samples at a nanometer-scale resolution. Atomic force microscopy uses nondestructive studies at nanoscale resolution with a resolution that is more than one hundred times better than an optical microscope. AFM's are used to collect data on a variety of samples from electrical and mechanical to functional, all at nanoscale while studying surface topography.

Atomic force microscopes are used for three main functions, most commonly used to image the surface of samples recording the position of the sample about the tip of the microscope. It then records the height of the probe corresponding to the constant probe sample interaction, along with electrical, mechanical, and functional properties. When it comes to surface manipulation using the probe, it measures the forces between the probe and sample examining the physical and mechanical properties of the sample.

Atomic force microscopes scan surfaces using a raster scanning a sharp probe, which is controlled by piezoelectric elements with a feedback loop, which is done on a computer. It works ...
... back and forth over the surface area, gathering data and traces of the contacts with the surface.

The probe is a sharp silicon tip that is on a free-moving cantilever, mounted on a carrying chip. The cantilever is a thin arm of silicone, while the probe has a nanometer range and sharp projection at the end of the cantilever. Data collected is based on the force between the sample and tip. The interaction data is collected when the AFM scans the surface of the sample, creating a map of the sample. The laser beam is focused on the back of the cantilever and reflected a photodiode.

There are numerous modes associated with atomic force microscopy with imaging modes being divided into static or contact modes with a choice of dynamic and tapping modes to choose from, which results in the cantilever vibrating at a set frequency. Contact mode is when the probe is dragged across the surface, making constant contact, the feedback loop remains constant during this mode. This represents constant force topography and the sample surface is recorded. This mode can cause damage to the sample and result in wear to the tip.

Tapping mode, on the other hand, is when the cantilever is osculated at a resonant frequency. This amplitude is measured and used to input images into the feedback loop. This mode reduces damage to the sample and the tip when compared to the contact mode. Tapping mode also offers greater detail with greater information.
AFMs can measure and identify different materials in a sample, which can range from micro electric devices to biological samples, along with polymers.

Atomic force microscopes are one of the most effective and favored imaging techniques used at the subnanoscale and nanoscale level. It has been applied to numerous problems in the field of natural science and can record numerous material surface properties in air and liquid media. Applications for AFM include semiconductor technology and science, thin films and coatings, tribology, polymer physics and chemistry, surface chemistry, cell, and molecular biology, and energy generation and storage, to name a few.

AFM is a very powerful measurement and imaging technique, which has become valuable to nanoscale research. These microscopes are versatile and can determine a range of mechanical properties on nanoscale levels, characterizing the materials in hours. It is used extensively in biological research, especially in identifying cancer cells. New applications are being added daily as these microscopes continue to be used in a host of research fields around the world.

About Us: Park Systems is a leading supplier of AFM systems. This well-established company provides its clients with years of knowledge and experience in the industry. They comprise a dedicated team of experienced professionals who focus on providing the highest level of service and support to their clients daily. Park Systems design their system with care and attention to detail. They are focus-driven and have built up a solid reputation on a global scale. The company has a global sales network providing thirty years of experience with over 1,000 AFM’s available. They are the fastest-growing AFM company with more than one hundred and twenty full-time employees. To find out more, visit https://www.parksystems.com.

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