Surface modification with a stylus instrument
The loading forces of the stylus and the radius were in the range of a few mN and 5µm, respectively. The penetration depth of the diamond stylus tip is 0.24µm. With the AFM which uses loading forces in the nN range (a million times smaller forces) it is possible to image polished surfaces damage free.
This scratch was produced on a stainless steel surface by a stylus profilometer, which is normally used in precision machinery manufacturing and quality control to measure the roughness of a machined surface.This AFM measurement was done in "Static Force" operating mode.