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published by the Imaging Technology Group
supported by the NASA and the National Science Foundation
This animated tutorial explores the basics of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), a branch of microscopy that forms images using a tiny physical probe to scan specimens. The advantage of SPM is that it can produce high resolution images of nanoscale samples and (unlike an electron microscope) does not require a partial vacuum. This tutorial provides beginners with a very clear picture of how the tiny tip moves across a sample surface to "see" atomic resolution and provide 3-dimensional feedback about its topography. The tutorial covers scanning tunneling, contact mode, and tapping mode. For additional background information on probe microscopy, we recommend: Introduction to AFM.
This resource is part of the Virtual Microscope project, which provides cost-free simulated scientific instrumentation for students and researchers worldwide as part of NASA's Virtual Laboratory initiative.
Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Editor's Note: SPM has been around only for 30 years, and has become a major tool for imaging samples as small as 6-10 nanometers. At the heart of scanning probe technology is the piezoelectric actuator, which controls the precision and accuracy of the tiny probe tip. This tutorial presents SPM with a simplicity that can be understood by high school students.
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This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Microscopy: Observing at the Nanoscale
Just what is a scanning probe microscope, and how does it use a tiny physical probe to "see" nanoscale specimens? This animated tutorial is a great way to explore the basics of SPM, which has become a very important tool for imaging samples as small as 10 nanometers.Link to Unit:
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Virtual Microscope: Scanning Probe Microscopy Basics:
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