Atomic Force Microscopy: General Principles and a New Implementation

  • Gary M. McClelland
  • Ragnar Erlandsson
  • Shirley Chiang
Conference paper
Part of the Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation book series (RPQN, volume 6 A)


Recently, Binnig, Quate, and Gerber developed the atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument which senses minute (10-12 – 10-8 N) forces between a sharp tip and a sample surface [1], In addition to enabling the study of solid-solid interactions on a unprecedentedly small scale, the AFM provides a general method for doing non-destructive surface profilometry at a resolution better than 10 nm and perhaps down to the atomic level. In this paper we review the principles of the AFM, discuss its potential resolution and data rate, describe our new AFM design, and present some initial results. We have obtained three dimensional surface profiles with 20 nm lateral resolution, which to our knowledge is better than what has been attained previously by stylus profilometry.


Atomic Force Microscope Scanning Tunneling Microscope Lateral Resolution Tunneling Current Resolution Parallel 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary M. McClelland
    • 1
  • Ragnar Erlandsson
    • 1
  • Shirley Chiang
    • 1
  1. 1.IBM Almaden Research CenterSan JoseUSA

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