The AFM is a very common surface imaging technique because of its high resolution and the wide range of materials it can characterise (insulators, biological or wet samples).

Atomic Force Microscopy is an imaging technique that is widely used due to its high resolution and the large array of materials it can analyse (dielectrics, conductors, biological materials, etc). A mechanical probe scans the sample surface while the vertical displacement is controlled, in general, by optical techniques. The vertical displacement is caused by the attraction forces between the sample surface and the probe tip. Not only does the AFM map the sample surface, it can also measure roughness and give qualitative information on the viscoelasticity of heterogeneous surfaces. AFM applications include examining a semiconductor wafer or evaluating the impact of surface roughness on the adhesion properties of a material.


-Surface imaging

-3D topography

-Roughness measurement



-Excellent resolution
-Not performed in a vacuum (dirty or wet samples can be analysed)
-The conductivity of the samples is irrelevant
-Can be used to measure roughness


-Little to no information about the chemical composition of samples

Manufacturer: Digital Instruments

Model: Multimode, Dimension 3100 (2x), Enviroscope

Manufacturer: Topometrix

Model: Discoverer

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