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Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

A method of measuring the surface structures down to the angstrom level.
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Description

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a method in the field of metrology of measuring the surface structures down to the angstrom level (1 angstrom = 0.1nm.). An AFM machine uses a cantilever with a tiny hard tip or needle. The tip scans the surface of a structure, providing three-dimensional measurements with resolutions from 100µm to 0.1nm.

AFM is a small but growing field that involves a standalone system that provides the surface measurements on structures. AFMs are versatile but relatively slow and sometimes relegated to select applications. The latest AFMs are faster and have broader capabilities, which could extend the reach of the technology and possibly alter the metrology landscape.

Developed in the 1980s, AFMs are one of several different systems used in the field of metrology, which is the art of measuring structures. Used in the lab and fab, AFMs are found in life sciences, semiconductors, and other fields.

 

Fig. 1: AFM metrology system. Source: Bruker
Fig. 1: AFM metrology system. Source: Bruker