- Page ID
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is part of the family of techniques known as scanning probe microscopy, and has proved itself extremely valuable and versatile as an investigative tool. The AFM invented by Gert Binnig and others in the mid 1980s differed in many ways from today’s instruments, but its basic principles remain the same. Binnig had already received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his creation of the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM), and the first AFMs in fact relied on an integrated STM tip. But the AFM had a major advantage over STM; it could be used for insulating as well as conducting samples.
Over the years, AFM has already had a significant impact in many disciplines, from surface science to biological and medical research. Because of its ability to image samples on an atomic scale, it has been vital to the advance of nanotechnology.