[Webinar] AFM: working principles, modes of operation and applications

The atomic force microscope (AFM) is an invaluable tool not only to obtain high (sub-nanometer)-resolution topographical images, but also to determine certain physical properties of specimens, such as stiffness and adhesion, surface charge and even chemical surface composition. The AFM has the advantage over other forms of microscopy in terms of spatial and temporal resolution and possibility of imaging almost any type of surface, including polymers, ceramics, composites, glass, and biological samples. In addition to the wide range of applications, from materials science to biology, this technique can be operated in a number of environments as long as the specimen is attached to a surface, including ambient air, ultra-high vacuum, and, most importantly for biology, in liquids. This lecture will first introduce the viewer to the fundamental aspect of AFM. Then, basic principles of operation of an AFM, the associated instrumentation and methodology; and the fundamental aspects how this high-resolution surface typography images and maps of surface forces can be obtained will be discussed. Main AFM operation modes; pro and cons of each mode, as well as representative results from the literature highlighting a variety of application areas will be also shown. Finally, some representative AFM artefacts and other examples of the applications of AFM imaging and force spectroscopy will be illustrated.

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