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An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy
written by Nancy A. Burnham
Materials for undergraduate and graduate courses on Atomic Force Microscopy:
1. Instructions for six two-hour lab sessions with Nanosurf's NaioAFM
2. Computer programs and instructions for eight one-hour computer labs
3. Instructions for six short exercises with a macroscopic cantilever
4. In-class writing exercises for improved scientific communication
Atomic force microscopes (AFMs) are instruments that allow three-dimensional imaging of surfaces with nanometer resolution. Also used to determine chemical and mechanical properties of surfaces, they and their cousins, collectively called scanning probe microscopes, are the principal enabling technologies in the fields of nanoscience and engineering. Nanoscience and engineering encompass many different disciplines, e.g. physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, and biology. Their common thread is the mutual focus on understanding, designing, and controlling processes and devices at the nanoscale. AFMs are currently being sold over a wide price range, the lower end of which is now compatible with intermediate physics laboratory courses (< $30k). In this workshop, one of these inexpensive instruments and the associated instructional materials will be demonstrated and the workshop leader will describe her experience in teaching undergraduate and graduate students AFM (since 2001). While the complete set of teaching materials is ideal for semester-long courses, portions of them could be used as modules in other classes. The instrument is easily transportable, which leads naturally to summer outreach programs.

Partial support was provided by NSF NUE Award #0406687
Subjects Lab Level Resource Types
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
- Advanced Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Tutorial
Material Category Formats Ratings
- Articles and Supplements
- Lab Manual
- application/pdf
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Safety Warnings
Advanced Labs Terms of Use Disclaimer Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  

Access Rights:
Free access
© 2015 Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Atomic force microscopy, nano-education
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 16, 2016 by Ramon Torres-Isea
Record Updated:
June 8, 2017 by Eric Ashby
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 16, 2016
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AIP Format
N. Burnham, (2015), WWW Document, (
N. Burnham, An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy (2015), <>.
APA Format
Burnham, N. (2016, September 16). An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Burnham, Nancy. An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy. September 16, 2016. (accessed 13 June 2024).
MLA Format
Burnham, Nancy. An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy. 2015. 16 Sep. 2016. 13 June 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Nancy Burnham", Title = {An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {13 June 2024}, Month = {September 16, 2016}, Year = {2015} }
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%A Nancy Burnham %T An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy %D September 16, 2016 %U %O application/pdf

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%0 Electronic Source %A Burnham, Nancy %D September 16, 2016 %T An Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy %V 2024 %N 13 June 2024 %8 September 16, 2016 %9 application/pdf %U

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