Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

An Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) provides 3-dimensional topographic information about a sample by probing its surface structure with a very sharp tip. The tip is scanned laterally across the surface, and the vertical movements of the tip are recorded and used to construct a quantitative 3-dimensional topographic map. The lateral resolution of the image can be as small as the tip radius (typically 5-15 nm), and the vertical resolution can be on the order of angstroms.

Technique Advantages

  • Quantitative topographical information at high lateral resolution
  • Little or no sample prep in many cases
  • Little to no harm to sample
  • Applicable to conductive and insulating materials

Typical Applications

  • High-resolution surface profilometry
  • Surface roughness measurements
  • Microstructural studies of metallic, ceramic, semiconducting and polymeric materials
  • Defect and failure analysis
  • Semiconductor device structural analyses
  • Surface cleaning and polishing studies
  • Phase separation in polymers
  • Investigation of local mechanical properties (i.e. stiffness, adhesion, friction)
  • High-resolution imaging of biological samples
  • Studies of nano-scale forces

Instrumentation

Bruker Dimension Icon - See details here

  • Contact Mode, Lateral Force Microscopy
  • Piezo Response Microscopy
  • Conductive AFM, Scanning Capacitance Microscopy
  • Tapping Mode w/ Phase Imaging
  • Electrostatic Force Microscopy, Magnetic Force Microscopy,Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy
  • PeakForce Tapping w/ ScanAsyst
  • PeakForce Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping
  • PeakForce TUNA • PeakForce Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy • Dimension heater/cooler stage enables AFM at two different temperature ranges:
    • -35ºC up to 100ºC 
    • room temperature up to 250ºC

Bruker BioScope Resolve Bio-AFM combined with an inverted Nikon TE2000 fluorescence microscope - See details here

  • High resolution imaging of biological samples in buffer solution (tissues, cells, viral particles, hydrogels applications, biomedical devices, and individual biomolecules)
  • High resolution investigation of local mechanical properties (i.e. stiffness, adhesion, friction) of biological samples
  • Time resolved imaging of biological samples up to 98 scan lines per second
  • Studies of nano-scale forces between ligands in the single molecule range (Molecular interaction mapping, Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy (SMFS)
  • Correlated fluorescence and atomic force microscopy (AFM) operation for high-resolution data collection and functional targeting of samples of interest (e.g. tissues, surfaces, cells)

Asylum Research Cypher VRS - See details here

  • High resolution video-rate imaging at up to 625 lines per second which leads to at least 10× faster imaging than current “fast scanning” AFMs.
  • Captures data directly to a video format, not individual image frames
  • Capture images at high pixel density (512×512) in just over a second, or reduce scan lines to achieve video rates >10 fps
  • blueDrive photothermal excitation makes video-rate AFM simple and stable
  • Scanner is extremely robust and fully sealed against liquid spills for complete reliability
  • Motorized laser and detector alignment make quick work of instrument setup