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Atomic Force Microscopy

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a technique for the investigation of the structure and morphology of surfaces. The sensor of the AFM is a tiny, sharp needle (with a curvature radius of less than 10 nm) attached to a small cantilever with a known spring constant. The needle is used to scan the surface of the sample. Attracting and repulsing forces occur as the function of the distance between the sample and the needle, leading to the bending of the cantilever. The movements of the cantilever can be followed using focused laser beams. The technique enables the mapping of the samples in three dimensions with sub-nanometer resolution.

The AFM technique is perfect for the characterization of a wide variety of surfaces without the need of special sample preparation. Studied sample types include: metallic and inorganic surfaces, polymers, biomaterials, biological samples, thin films, lipid monolayers.