CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart

Atomic Force Microscopy

Reference work entry



Atomic force microscopy, often abbreviated as AFM, is one of the elected techniques for fine surface and geometrical characterization. Atomic force microscopes provide three-dimensional reconstruction of surface topographies with sub-nanometer vertical and lateral resolution, over a range which is typically no larger than a few tens or hundreds of micrometers.

Atomic force microscopes belong to the family of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), a branch of microscopy allowing imaging of surfaces by means of a physical probe scanning the sample surface. SPMs monitor the interaction between the probe and the surface to produce an image or a three-dimensional reconstruction of the surface. SPMs classification is based on the specific physical principles causing the interaction. When such interaction is a force (magnetic, electrostatic, friction, etc.), the scanning probe microscopes are also classified as scanning force microscopes (SFMs). Atomic...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Binnig G, Quate CF, Gerber C (1986) Atomic force microscope. Phys Rev Lett 55(9):930–933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Danzebrink HU, Koenders L, Wilkening G, Yacoot A, Kunzmann H (2006) Advances in scanning force microscopy for dimensional metrology. Ann CIRP 55(2):841–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Giessibl FJ (2004) Advances in atomic force microscopy. Rev Mod Phys 75(3):949–983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Marinello F, Bariani P, Carmignato S, Savio E (2009) Geometrical modelling of scanning probe microscopes and characterization of errors. Meas Sci Technol 20(8):084013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Morita S, Wiesendanger R, Meyer E (2002) Noncontact atomic force microscopy. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TeSAF, Dipartimento Territorio e Sistemi Agro-ForestaliUniversity of PadovaLegnaroItaly