(Nearly) Everything you ever wanted to know about AFM but were afraid to ask…

One of the things I’ve been meaning to pull together for a while are a collection of articles about AFM, the different types of probe tips and coatings and why you might use one kind of probe over and above another.

Inevitably it has become one of those jobs that is always superseded by something else more pressing and urgent for the business.

However, one of the things I am gradually getting used to as we expand and grow as a company is that not everything needs to rest with me anymore. We’re very pleased to have welcomed Máire Power onboard in the last couple of months as our Marketing Coordinator. Máire’s background, with her PhD in physics and her experience as a freelance ESL scientific editor, makes her the ideal person to author our first set of articles and application notes. And brilliantly it takes another job off my ever expanding to do list!

We’ve focused on four main areas and you can link through to the articles below, or alternatively you can access these (and other materials we’ll be producing) anytime through the ‘Resources’ section of our website:

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) for scientists

  • What is AFM?
  • What are the advantages of AFM over SEM as a nanoscale imaging tool?
  • How is AFM used in STEM disciplines?

The superiority of conical tips in atomic force microscopy (AFM)

  • How do tip properties affect AFM imaging?
  • What are the disadvantages of pyramidal/tetrahedral tips?
  • Why is conical superior to the other two shapes?

Reflective coating of the cantilever in atomic force microscopy (AFM)

  • Why is a cantilever coated?
  • What are the disadvantages of coating?
  • What are the main types of coating used?
  • What are the usages of tip types with different coatings?

Vertical Probes in Lateral Molecular Force Microscopy (LMFM)

  • What is the difference between standard horizontally mounted cantilevers and vertically-oriented cantilevers (used for LMFM)?
  • What are the disadvantages of using horizontally mounted cantilevers?
  • What are the advantages of LMFM tip-less imaging?
  • What are the applications and usage of LMFM to date?

Please do take a look at these resources and as ever we’d love to hear your feedback. What do you find particularly useful about these or any other articles, application notes etc. you’ve used? What other resources might you or your students and colleagues find useful in their work?