Microscopy is the field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye). There are three primary branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy, along with the emerging field of X-ray microscopy.
- Atomic Force Microscopy
- Atomic force microscopy utilizes a microscale probe to produce three dimensional image of surfaces at sub nanometer scales. The atomic force microscope obtains images by measurement of the attractive and repulsive forces acting on a microscale probe interacting with the surface of a sample. Ideally the interaction occurs at an atomically fine probe tip being attracted and repulsed by the atoms of the surface giving atomically resolved surface images.
- Scanning Probe Microscopy
- Scanning Probe Microscopy is a family of microscopy techniques where a sharp probe (2-10 nm) is scanned across a surface and probe-sample interactions are monitored. It is an extremely useful tool that is utilized in numerous research settings ranging from chemistry and materials to biological sciences. In addition to imaging surfaces with nanometer resolution, SPM can also be used to determine a variety of properties including surface roughness, friction, and surface forces.
Thumbnail: Rice stem magnified 400 times (CC BY-SA 4.0; John Alan Elson via Wikipedia)