Scanning Modes

The HR AFM includes the most commonly used AFM Modes. The are:

Vibrating Mode (tap)

Vibrating mode imaging is the most common mode for measuring topography images with an AFM. In vibrating mode the vibration amplitude of the probe is held constant during a scan. Adjustable parameters include the vibrating frequency, amplitude of vibration, and the amount of dampening of the vibrating probe.

Non-vibrating (contact)

In non-vibrating mode, commonly called contact mode, the deflection of a cantilever is held constant during scanning. This mode is often used for scanning in liquids and is also used for measuring force-distance curves.


Phase mode images are measured in vibrating mode and are useful for identifying different areas of hardness on a surface. The technique operates by measuring the phase change caused by various materials on a surface while scanning.

Lateral Force

Lateral force mode measures the local friction a probe senses as it is scanned across a surface. The friction can be caused by surface texture or by different chemical composition.

Force – Distance (F/D)

Force Distance Curves measure the deflection of a cantilever as it interacts with a surface. Force-Distance measurements monitor such surface parameters as: Adhesion, Stiffness, Compliance, Hardness, and Contaminate Thickness. This advanced AFM module is flexible and enables many types of experiments.

Optional Modes

Magnetic Force

Measures surface magnetic field by incorporating a magnetic probe into the AFM. MFM is used to generate images of magnetic fields on a surface, and is particularly useful in the development of magnetic recording technology. Magnetic fields associated with individual magnetic nanoparticles are also revealed through MFM.

Electric force

Electrostatic Force Microscopy (EFM) is a type of dynamic non-contact atomic force Microscope where the electrostatic force is probed. “Dynamic” here means that the cantilever is oscillating and does not make contact with the sample. This force arises due to the attraction or repulsion of separated charges.

Conductive AFM

The C-AFM measures topography and conductivity images simultaneously. This option allows measuring current-voltage (I/V) curves at specific locations on a surface.


This NanoLithography software option enables the AFM probe to alter the physical or chemical properties of the surface. Created in LabVIEW and integrated with the AFMControl software. VI’s are available to customers who want to modify the software and create new capabilities.

Scanning Tunneling

In the STM, the current flow between a metal probe and a sample are used to control the distance between the conductive probe and conductive surface. When the probe is scanned across the surface, if the current between the probe and surface are held constant with a feedback control loop driving a piezo ceramic, the topography of the sample’s surface in measured.

Open Liquid Cell

This option includes a special probe holder and open liquid cell for scanning samples submerged in liquids. The Dunk and Scan can directly replace the HR AFM probe holder.