Characterization - Atomic force microscopy (AFM)

Atomic force microscopy (AFM)


Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is a type of microscope with scanning probe. Microscope Bruker Dimension Icon allows a high surface image (nanometer) resolution capability in the Z-axis as ~ 1-2 Å, by using the "PeakForce Tapping" mode and nitride-silicon probes, equipped with a very sharp tip (radius of 2 nm). In contrast to the contact mode and tapping mode reduces the strength and thus the surface of the probe interaction with the sample, thereby improving the resolution of the scanned image of the XY plane and is less destructive to the probe and the sample. The microscope is equipped with three modes for measuring the surface morphology, as well as many modes allowing for analysis of the physical properties of testing materials.



  • X-Y scan range: 60x60 μm (max), 10x10 μm (typical)
  • Z range: 9 - 10μm
  • Sample size: 21 cm
  • Vacuum chuck for samples
  • Microscope optics:
    • 5-megapixel digital camera
    • viewing area: 180 - 1465 μm
    • digital zoom and motorized focus
  • Controller: NanoScope
  • Vibration isolation: pneumatic
  • Acoustic isolation: up to 85 dBC



AFM gives us possibility to obtain maps of sample, show the configuration of the surface and its physical properties such as smoothness, friction, adhesion, electrostatic charge distribution, electrical conductivity, magnetic domain structure and surface potential. Our experimental setup enables measurement of various kinds of surface structures with a smooth or more complicated surfaces for example thin films, quantum dots or nanowires with a range of root mean square roughness (RMS) from < 1 nm to 100 nm.

Atomic Force Microscope with the possibility of 21 cm diameter sample surface measuring.

Nitride-silicon probe with a very sharp tip (tip radius - 2 nm).

Surface images (10 x 10 mm) of thin oxide films (left) and quantum dots (right).