Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology

Living Edition
| Editors: Bharat Bhushan

Surface Forces Apparatus

  • Carlos Drummond
  • Marina RuthsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6178-0_367-2



The surface forces apparatus (SFA) is an instrument for sensitive measurements of normal and lateral forces between two macroscopic surfaces in contact or separated by a thin film. The surface separation distance can be measured and independently controlled to 0.1 nm. The surfaces typically form a single-asperity contact where the substrates deform elastically, and time- and rate-dependent effects in the measured forces can be ascribed to phenomena in the thin films or adsorbed monolayers confined between the surfaces.

Basics of the SFA Technique

The Surfaces and the Apparatus

In SFA experiments, normal and lateral interaction forces are measured between two surfaces across air or a medium (a confined film). The most commonly used surface substrates are back-silvered, molecularly smooth muscovite mica sheets glued to half-cylindrical fused-silica disks. These half-cylindrical surfaces are mounted in the SFA in a crossed-cylinder configuration...


Normal Force Mica Surface Surface Separation Surface Force Apparatus Mica Sheet 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS–Université Bordeaux 1PessacFrance
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Massachusetts LowellLowellUSA