Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Scanning Probe Microscopy

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    This module provides an introduction to Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM). SPM is a family of microscopy techniques where a sharp probe (2-10 nm) is scanned across a surface and probe-sample interactions are monitored. SPM 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, surface forces, binding energies, and local elasticity. This module is aimed at presenting the basic theory and applications of SPM. It is aimed towards undergraduates and anyone who wants an introduction into SPM. There are two primary forms of SPM: Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The basic theory of both of these techniques is presented here along with an introduction into some additional SPM characterization methods.

    This work is partially supported through NSF grant DMR-0526686. The authors would also like to acknowledge the participants at the ASDL Curriculum Development Workshop held at the University of California - Riverside, July 10-14, 2006.

    This page titled Scanning Probe Microscopy is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Heather A. Bullen & Robert A. Wilson via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.