Atomic force microscope (AFM) probes the surface of a sample with a sharp tip, a couple of microns long and often less than 100Å in diameter. The tip is located at the free end of a cantilever that is 100 to 200μm long. Forces between the tip and the sample surface cause the cantilever to bend, or deflect. A detector measures the cantilever deflection as the tip is scanned over the sample, or the sample is scanned under the tip. The measured cantilever deflections allow a computer to generate a map of surface topography. AFMs can be used to study insulators and semiconductors as well as electrical conductors. Several forces typically contribute to the deflection of an AFM cantilever. The force most commonly associated with atomic force microscopy is an inter-atomic force called the Van der Waals force.
Large multi-purpose scanner:
plate 20 mm × 20 mm
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