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There are two inventions that pushed modern technology so much further: the microchip and the transistor. And as years go by, the transistor has remained extremely useful – and has become much smaller. Today, a single microchip can contain billions of transistors, and as transistors get smaller, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine just how immense the potential of nanotechnology is.

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AFM or Atomic Force Microscopy is a technology that had a wide range of applications, from semiconductors to various scientific discoveries including neuroscience and cellular biology. This technology makes use of a type of scanning microscope designed for measuring local properties with the use of a probe. Such properties include friction, magnetism, and height. Some advanced models can produce topographical images that can be used for many applications such as defect detection and sample imaging.

 

 

History of AFM

AFM was derived from scanning tunneling microscope technology (STM). STM was developed by IBM scientists Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at the IBM research facility in Zurich during the early 1980s. This technology earned the pair a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.

Both these techniques had an insufficient range of sample types to work with. Hence, the need for the development of something like AFM.

Binnig, together with Gerber and Quate, replaced electron tunneling. A fine wire conducted this tunneling in the STM system. It was replaced by a cantilever, which is what AFM.

This cantilever approach has the ability to analyze insulating samples. Since 1988, AFM has become more and more available. Recently AFM has become more and more advanced, with new modes being developed to suit the numerous requirements of different applications.

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
Richard Feynman
Physicist

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