Atomic force microscopy applications

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  • Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) on graphene

    Graphene belongs to the category of 2D materials and is of interest in the research and development of new devices and materials. Besides atomic resolution imaging to learn more about crystal orientation, edges and defects, functional properties are also of…

  • Topography of SrTiO3 in dynamic mode

    Strontium titanate (SrTiO3, STO) is an oxide of titanium and strontium exhibiting a perovskite structure. It has interesting and partly unique material properties. It is used as substrate for growth of oxide-based thin films and high-temperature superconductors. STO forms surfaces…

  • Analysis of tensile stress samples with AFSEM™

    The detailed study of material fracture surfaces is routinely used to address the cause of failure in engineering structures. At the nanoscale it is a main research area in material science to develop and evaluate theoretical models of crack growth…

  • Electrostatic force microscopy (EFM)

    This application note describes an example of electrostatic force (EFM) measurements on a sample of aluminum dots deposited on a gold substrate. This sample is part of the EFM mode kit sample. EFM uses the shift in resonance frequency of…

  • Spring constant calibration by frequency sweep

    The spring constant of the cantilever and deflection sensitivity of the system are important parameters to perform quantitative force spectroscopy. In Software Version 3.7.3 we introduced a new calibration option determining the cantilever spring constant k from the frequency sweep…

  • Phase imaging of a SBS-PS polymer blend

    Polymer blends are frequently used for preparation of e.g. thin films instead of the individual homopolymers, as the blends exhibit more desireable characteristics. Unfortunately, the components of such films are often not compatible with each other and will demix during…

  • Nanoindentation analysis with AFSEM™

    SEM is widely used to study the surface structure after nanoindentation. The combination of a large field of view with nanometer resolution allows detecting early stages of crack formation, slip steps, and other surface defects indicating the onset of material…

  • Nanomechanical analysis of alginate hydrogels

    Since the advent of biocompatible hydrogels in the early 1960s these materials have attracted a lot of interest from biomaterial researchers. Nowadays, various hydrogels are used in a wide range of biomedical applications including contact lenses, artificial wound dressings, thickening…

  • Conductivity of Pt(C) induced by FEBIP

    Cathode catalyst layers in fuel cell technology consist of platinum nanoparticles embedded in a carbon matrix, Pt(C). If the carbon matrix in a film is diamond-like, the electron transport is dominated by tunneling between neighboring platinum particles. Consequently, the film…

  • Electrochemical AFM with rod-like samples: Cu deposition on…

    A unique feature of the Nanosurf Electrochemistry Stage ECS 204 is the capability to handle both flat and rod-like samples for simultaneous AFM and electrochemical measurements. This capability is exemplified here by an in situ electrochemical AFM experiment showing copper…

  • Thermal conductivity of polymer-embedded carbon fibers

    Scanning thermal microscopy (SThM) allows measurement of local temperature or thermal conduc-tivity with nanometer resolution, e.g. in semiconductor devices or polymer science. Thereto, a small temperature sensor, e.g. a thermocouple, is placed at the apex of an AFM cantilever tip.…

  • Flex-ANA measurement on gelatin hydrogels

    During the past decade it has become more and more evident that (stem) cell differentiation does not solely depend on biochemical factors. The mechanical properties of the environment are important factors that can direct cell differentiation. Consequently, hydrogels that can…

  • Flex-ANA measurement on medical tubings

    Many medical devides consist of or include tubings, e.g. catheters, injection or infusion sets or urological retrieval devides. The surfaces of these medical tubings need to be tailored for the specific applications. Functional requirements such as imporved anti-fouling properties, reduced…

  • Dynamic mode AFM image of geobacter on gold

    Geobacter sulfurreducens is an electrogenic bacterium capable of oxidizing organic compounds and transferring released electrons into a conductive substrate. Electrogenic bacteria are actively researched for the development of microbial fuel cells, which produce electric energy by oxidizing organic compounds. Such…

  • Flex-ANA measurements on living cultured cells

    Mechanobiology is an emerging research area that deals with the effect of changing physical forces or changes in the mechanical properties of cells and tissues. Several diseases, such as fibrosis and atherosclerosis are associated with changes in tissue stiffness. Moreover,…

  • AFM imaging of type I collagen fibrils

    Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals and contributes to more than 25% of the whole-body protein content. It is the main structural protein of the extracellular matrix of connective tissues and provides e.g. tendons and bone with their…

  • Dynamic mode AFM of pyrene nanosheets

    Mykhailo Vybornyi, Alexander Rudnev, and Robert Häner of the chemistry department of Berne university used the Nanosurf Flex-Axiom system to characterize extra-large nanosheets assembled from Pyrene molecules ( Chem. Mater., 2015, 27, 1426–31). The sheets reached sizes of over 10µm…

  • Oxygen-free EC-AFM experiments with Electrochemistry Stage ECS 204

    In this application note we describe how to carry out electrochemical AFM experiments in oxygen-free aqueous solutions employing FlexAFM and Electrochemistry Stage ECS 204 from Nanosurf

  • Nanoindentation

    Nanoindentation is an important technique for quantitative characterization of mechanical properties of materials, essentially consisting of pushing a hard, sharpened indenter with a well-defined shape against the surface of a sample. This technique is used to precisely and locally characterize…

  • KPFM on polished stainless steel

    In the experiment shown below, KPFM and topography data were recorded in a single run using a Flex-Axiom system. Also see the related MFM application.

  • MFM on polished stainless steel

    On polished stainless steel, areas with magnetic domains can be observed by MFM. In the experiment shown below, MFM data was recorded in constant height mode (compensating for sample slope) using a Flex-Axiom system.

  • Dynamic mode AFM of polished sapphire

    For some applications, sapphire or glass surfaces need to be polished down to sub-nanometer roughness. The images obtained here show polishing marks in and small contamination particles on the surface.

  • AFM force spectroscopy on a polymer blend

    AFM-based force spectroscopy was used to characterize a polymer blend consisting of polystyrene (PS) and polybutadiene (PB). Data analysis or an array of force distance curves revealed differences in the material properties of the two components.

  • AFM phase imaging of a polymer blend

    This is an example of AFM phase imaging of a polymer blend performed on a NaioAFM. The polymer blend consists of polystyrene (PS) and polybutadiene (PB)deposited on silicon. PS forms islands within the PB matrix. Phase response shown as color…

  • Lateral force microscopy on polystyrene-polybutadiene blend

    Lateral force imaging mode was used to image local friction differences between the two polymers. Polystyrene and polybutadiene are shown to have quite different surface properties.

  • Scanning thermal microscopy

    This is an example of a scanning thermal measurement performed with a FlexAFM scan head equipped with a VertiSense temperature sensing cantilever from AppNano. Temperature shown as color overlay on the 3D topography.Data processing: GwyddionImage size: 25 µmTemperature range: 15…

  • AFM topography of a living HeLa cell

    Living HeLa cell imaged in cell culture medium. A living HeLa cell was imaged in static mode using a FlexAFM mounted on an inverted optical microscope (Zeiss Observer.Z1). The cell was immersed in cell culture medium while imaging at low…

  • High resolution imaging of the cytoplasmic side of…

    Isolated purple membranes reveal the trimeric organization of this bacterial transmembrane protein Bacteriorhodopsin (BR) is a trimeric integral membrane protein found in the cell membrane of halobacteria. It acts as a proton pump that captures light energy and uses this…

  • Single molecule force spectroscopy of bacteriorhodopsin

    The force-distance curve below reports the controlled C-terminal unfolding of a single bacteriorhodopsin (BR) membrane protein from its native environment, the purple membrane from Halobacterium salinarium. Solid and dashed orange lines represent the WLC curves corresponding to the major and…

  • Example of single-cell force spectroscopy using FluidFM

    This application note shows an example of a single cell force spectroscopy experiment using FluidFM. It nicely demonstrates that FluidFM is capable of attaching a cell to a channeled cantilever in mere seconds by the application of underpressure via the…

  • Carbon nanotubes on graphene-silicon carbide

    Images show CNTs bound to a graphene-silicon carbide surface. The overview image (see Picture 3, bottom of page) shows weakly bound CNTs (lying across steps in the substrate's surface) and strongly bound CNTs (bound at the step edges). Pictures 1…

  • Colloidal spectroscopy with FluidFM®

    Mechanical properties have shown to be important for fundamental cellular processes like migration and differentiation, as well as in the characterization and understanding of cancer. Although colloidal probes are commercially available, it is still common practice to glue beads on…

  • Single Cell Force Spectroscopy

    Advantages of FluidFM compared to classical AFM methods Cell adhesion to surfaces represents the basis for niche colonization and cell survival. Single-cell force-spectroscopy studies, however, are often hampered by the relatively slow pace at which a statistically relevant amount of…

  • Spotting and lithography with FluidFM

    In cell biology, micropatterning is becoming a widely accepted technique to address cellular behavior at the single-cell level. The ability to guide cell growth by local suppression or stimulation, for example, is beneficial for studying cell growth, for developing cell-based…

  • Electrochemical AFM

    This report demonstrates the capability of the FlexAFM in studies of charged solid-liquid interfaces. In order to carry out electrochemical(in-situ) AFM experiments, a conductive sample was mounted in an electrochemical liquid cell and connected to a lab-build bipotentiostat. We employed…

  • Bulk copper deposition on gold studied in an…

    This report effectively demonstrates the ability of the FlexAFM to monitor morphological changes during electrodeposition of material on an electrode surface.

  • Topography analysis of ePTFE membrane using AFM

    The abbreviation ePTFE stands for expanded polytetrafluorethylene, also known as expanded Teflon. The mechanical and medical properties of the material depend strongly on how the Teflon was expanded (mono- or bi-axially) and on the resulting ePTFE network structures. Due to…

  • KPFM using the Nanosurf FlexAFM

    Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM) is an extension of AFM. The technique was first published in 1991 by Nonnenmacher and coworkers. Using KPFM, images can be recorded that contain information on the local work function or local contact potential difference…

  • Living Rat-2 cells

    Imaging using the FlexAFM on an inverted microscope. Details of the cell's cytoskeleton are readily discernible through the cell membrane using AFM.

  • Scanning Thermal Microscopy (SThM) with the Nanosurf FlexAFM

    With the development of the FlexAFM, Nanosurf offers a platform with increased flexibility for researchers that require advanced imaging modes, while still maintaining Nanosurf's trademark ease of use.

  • Lateral force contrast on dots produced by Dip-Pen…

    The Nanosurf FlexAFM offers LFM in combination with easy handling, making it an obvious choice for DPN® analysis.

  • Analyzing large surfaces using AFM stitching

    This application note describes the automated stitching feature of the Nanosurf Nanite AFM scripting interface in combination with the Nanosurf Report Expert analysis software. AFM measurements on an LCD panel are used as an example to demonstrate how stitching can…

  • Imaging DNA with the AFM

    X-ray diffraction data of Rosalind Franklin has played an important part in solving the structure of DNA and this technique remains important even today, where X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy are the main tools used to image DNA at high…

  • Magnesium Fluoride coating

    Magnesium Fluoride coating

  • Tissue samples

    Tissue samples

  • Polycarbonate Gratings

    Polycarbonate Gratings

  • Airplane Wing Coating

    Airplane Wing Coating

  • Treated Nanofibers

    Treated Nanofibers

  • Milling Cutter Coating

    Milling Cutter Coating

  • Photoresin Interference Grid

    Photoresin Interference Grid

  • CD

    Bit information on a CD

  • Valve Fitting

    Valve Fitting

  • Copolymer

    Copolymer

  • Nanosphere Lithography

    Nanosphere Lithography

  • Polymeric glass

    Polymeric glass

  • Lithography on Titanium

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has had a great impact on the development of the nanotechnology because of its demonstrated ability to fabricate nanostructures. Local oxidation of metallic surfaces by atomic force microscopy has shown to be a lithographic method for…

  • Low current measurement on HOPG

    Conductive AFM (cAFM) is becoming a very important analytical tool in the semiconductor industry. Doping, electrical conductivity, surface potential and current flow are only some examples of cAFM. Continuous improvement and development on this technique to expand its capabilities and…

  • Topography of solar cell layers

    Substrate roughness has a large effect on all aspects of pc-Si solar cell processes. A smoother substrate leads to a bigger grain size in the absorber layer and to an increase in generated voltage and efficiency of the resulting solar…

  • Carbon nanotubes on HOPG

    Imaging of large multi-walled carbon nanotubes The image come courtesy of Prof. Alexandru Darabont at the University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Researchers at the Department of physics of advanced materials and technology imaged large multi-walled carbon nanotubes on an HOPG…

  • Screw dislocations in GaN

    Gallium nitride features some unique properties such as large band gap, strong interatomic bonds, and high thermal conductivity. Along the last decade, GaN has attracted great interests owing to its potential applications in high power and high frequency electronic devices…

  • Dynamic mode AFM on pentacene film on TiO2

    Organic semiconductors obtained a lot of interest during the last years, due to their suitability for organic thin film transistor (OTFT) displays. During the last decade the speed of such displays, could be increased by more than a factor of…

  • Electrode surface modified with multilayers of Polyoxometalate

    Electrode surfaces modified with polyoxometalates have gained much interest in recent years, among others because of their electrocatalytic properties. The functionalization of different electrode surfaces with these inorganic clusters has been reported. The characterization of the surfaces with analytical tools…

  • Coating Morphology Analysis of Paper

    To ensure the ink is uniformly transferred onto paper, a very homogenious surface quality of the paper is desired. The AFM provides accurate roughness measurements and quantitative analysis of surface morphology of different processed paper.

  • DFM measurements on individual textile fibres

    Textiles with new functionality can be produced by coating textile fibres with nano-scale particles. DFM measurements on individual textile fibres with a different surface treatment allow comparing the properties of these coatings. Textiles with new functionality can be produced by…

  • Contact mode AFM of polished ceramic plate used…

    Dental esthetics are becoming increasingly important for dental patients. Ceramics are frequently being applied for tooth restoration due to their higher mechanical strength and chemical inertness. As esthetics become increasingly important for dental patients, ceramics are frequently applied for tooth…

  • Dynamic mode AFM of human hair

    The study of human hair surface is of great interest for the cosmetic industry. The hair surface structure is important for the diffusion of compounds, such as cosmetic products. Polymers are usually used in hair cosmetics for the improvement of…

  • Strontium ruthanate on Strontium titanate imaged in dynamic…

    Strontium ruthenate is a potential electrode material for ferroelectric capacitors. The electrical properties (e.g. leakage currents) of such thin film devices are dependent on the electronic properties of the electrode/ferroelectric junctions where Strontium ruthenate on Strontium titnate provides an excellent…

  • MFM of bits on a harddisk

    The measurements shown here were taken with a Nanosurf Mobile S Large Scan head. The sample was a 10GB single head 3.5" harddisk magnetised in the plane of the medium with a track distance of 600 nm and a bit…

  • AFM image of quantum dots

    What makes Q-dots interesting is that their physical properties are controlled by their small size. Quantum dots (Q-dots) are particles whose size is limited to a few nanometers. More precisely, a Q-dot is a sphere with a radius of few…

  • STM images on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of 1-octanethiol…

    Data recorded by Erin Iski of the Sykes Group at Tufts University, MA, USA. The sulfur atom binds to the surface it removes gold atoms and single atom deep etch pits are formed. Individual molecules can be discerned.

  • Surface roughness measurement of stent surface

    In minimally invasive medicine, a stent is used to keep open an arterie or another hollow structure of the human body. The surface structure is of great importance. What is a Stent? Read Wikipedia description. The surface roughness of the…

  • STM image of TaS2 surface

    TaS2 (and TaSe2) exhibit an electronic phase transition from a normal into a condensed state which is called the Charge Density Wave (CDW) state. The transition is caused by an electron-phonon coupling. STM images of TaS2 show a triangular atomic…

  • STM of TiS2 surface shows atomic structure

    With the easyScan STM synthetic TiS2 single crystals have been investigated. On the 'as grown' material holes are observed on a large scan size. Closer examination (cross section) reveals that the depth of the holes amounts to about 4 Angstroem…

  • STM study of high temperature superconducting thin films

    High temperature superconducting thin films have been deposited using the pulsed laser deposition method onto SrTiO3 single crystalline substrates. The substrate temperature was kept at 750°C and the deposited film thickness was 200nm (sample provided by University of Basel). From…

  • STM on polished copper surface

    A simple sheet of copper was polished and subsequently cleaned with pure ethanol. This STM measurement was carried out under ambient conditions at a tunneling current of 1nA and an applied gap voltage of 50mV. Sub micrometer sized scratches from…

  • STM Study of Evaporated Au (111) Thin Film

    Very flat thin films of (111) oriented gold have been prepared using the template-strip method described by Hegner et al. (Surf. Sci. 291 (1993) 39-46). The images show flat terraces with steps having the height of one monolayer gold. The…

  • STM on HOPG shows atomic resolution

    In a good top view image of graphite you will see a pattern consisting of white, grey and black spots. To interpret the image correctly: the bright spots mean higher tunneling current and dark spots mean low current Out of…

  • Defects study and atomic structure of MoS2 crystal…

    Natural MoS2 crystals were cleaved prior to the STM experiment. The measurements have been carried out under ambient conditions. Typical tunneling parameters were 1.6nA tunneling current and 0.35V gap voltage. Some nanometre sized inclusions were found within the atomically resolved…

  • Modification of gold surface by voltage pulses

    On (111) oriented gold thin films it is possible to locally modify the surface by applying a voltage pulse (see eg. T. Schaub, Nanotechnology 3 (1992) p77-83). Depending on the polarity of the pulse it is possible to field evaporate…

  • STM imaging of 2D crystals of dotriacontan and…

    The following measurements show images taken with easyScan STM on 2-dimensional molecular crystals of dotriacontan and octadecanol molecular layers prepared on HOPG. Instructions on the properties of such crystals and how to prepare them can be found in "J.P. Rabe,…

  • STM measurements on microfabricated grid

    An Injection moulded plastic grid has been specially designed for the calibration of scanning tunneling microscopes. This plastic grid is covered with a layer of gold palladium (nominal thickness 20 nm) using magnetron sputtering. The grid's pitch is 160 nm.…

  • Dynamic force measurement on silicon wafer

    Steps on (111) oriented silicon wafer. Imaged with a Nanosurf easyScan DFM by Martin Eckstein. Advanced Lab Course 20, Augsburg University, EKM, Experimentalphysik 6. The image shows steps on (111) oriented silicon wafer. The measurement was performed in "Dynamic Force"…

  • AFM images of gold film on ceramic grains

    Ceramic Al2O3 grains between 2-4µm in size can be seen. With AFM it's easy to study the form of the individual ceramic grains. On the left ceramic grains are clearly visible. On the right the grains of the ceramics can…

  • AFM for dental implants

    Surface morphology is an essential factor for biocompatible materials and strongly influences the interaction within organic materials Surface parameters as roughness and shape of the structures will determine ability and rate of bone healing against the implant surface as well…

  • Surface Roughness of steel balls for tribological testing

    As surfaces for bearing technology become more and more smooth, conventional techniques such as laser or stylus profilometry come to their limits for determining surface quality. But slight differences in surface roughness and structure of bearing components are found to…

  • DFM surface morphology study of polished stainless steel

    Polished surface of a stainless steel piece used for watch straps. In the watch and jewellery industry new types of noble metal alloys are desired for new colours. This means, new polishing methods and compositions are needed. The AFM helps…

  • Morphology studies on titanium surfaces

    Titanium is used for implants in human body. The aim here was to study the morphology, texture and polishing effect of the surface. The starting surface is irregular and rough. Due to the processing the surface morphology alters dramatically. The…

  • Dynamic force AFM image of cellophane foil

    The image can be used for defect study of coating. In the food and packing industry mostly coated plastic foils are used in order to prevent food from exposure to air. The coating also works as an anti-oxidant. The image…

  • AFM image of ball point tip

    Used for roughness quality control during production. The heart of a ballpoint pen is the ball of between 0.4 and 1.6 mm in diameter, made of stainless steel or tungsten carbide which is used as the writing tip. From a…

  • Defect analysis on a bio chip

    The AFM was used to measure a defect visible by eye on a bio chip. But by optical microscopy it was not possible to decide whether the structure was an elevation or a cavity. On the right hand side the…

  • Stainless steel metrology of indentations

    For hardness measurements, the indentation of diamond tips into a material's surface is often used. A diamond tip is driven into the material with a defined load. The force response of the material is recorded, providing information on the hardness…

  • AFM image of butterfly wings

    Butterfly wings are fragile biological nanostructures that derive their colour both from the structure of the scale cells on their surface and from pigment grains. The image shows a AFM measurement of these optically invisible, fragile structure of a Butterfly…

  • AFM analysis of human hair treatment

    Hair treatment causes changes in the surface properties of the hair on specific locations. The 3-D information in the image of a human hair was taken from an AFM topography measurement, the color scale from a simultaneous phase measurement. The…

  • Dynamic force AFM of lens surface

    High-tech applications demand an extremely low surface roughness of modern optical systems. The AFM is uniquely suitable for measurement of the roughness of such surfaces. The image shows a lens surface. The measurement was done in "Dynamic Force" operating mode.…

  • Static force AFM of stainless steel

    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…

  • Growth morphology analysis of silicon carbide thin film

    Thin film quality very much depends on various deposition parameters as well as the substrate preparation. Growth defects, impurities and non stoichiometric phases can inhibit smooth film growth. The image shows a silicon carbide thin film surface deposited on a…

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