Micro and Nano Fabrication
Clean Room

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Processes - Measurement - Microscopy - AFM

For training on this equipment, contact the assigned module leads
Scanning Probe Microscope

Scanning Probe Microscope (AFM)



  • The ThermoMicroscope SPM bible .
  • Short overview of atomic force microscopy (AFM) with nice graphics from NRL.
  • More information on other SPM modes from ThermoMicroscopes.


Commercial Laboratories

  • Microscopy & Analysis' listing of commercial laboratories.



The MCR Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM) is a Park Scientific Autoprobe CP with a multitask 100 micron head. Park Scientific was merged into ThermoMicroscopes , which in turn has recently been purchased by Veeco Instruments , along with Digital Instruments (another leading SPM manufacturer.) Some information on the Autoprobe may still be found here .

This equipment is capable of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in contact, non-contact (NC-AFM) or intermittent contact (IC-AFM, or "tapping") modes, lateral force microscopy (LFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). More advanced modes, including magnetic force (MFM), scanning thermal (SThM), and scanning capacitance (SCM), are possible in consultation with the module lead.


You are required to supply your own tips (or "cantilevers") for the equipment. PLEASE NOTE: the lead time ordering these tips is usually between four and seven weeks, so plan ahead. You should meet with the module lead to discuss which tip type would be most suitable for your scanning mode & particular sample. We reserve the right to refuse generic tips to be used on the Autoprobe and it is recommended that you order from one of the links below. Occasionally, the clean room has extra tips that may be purchased individually. Please contact the module lead to check availability.

BEWARE: It is the experience of previous users that "mounted" tips are preferable to "unmounted" tips on wafers, as new users generally break so many tips trying to mount them that the cost advantage is nullified. Under NO circumstances will the module lead assist you with tip mounting.

Cantilevers may be purchased here .

Training & Usage

Please contact the module lead to schedule a training session. After attending the training session, you are expected to return within one week with your own sample to test in the presence of the module lead. You may NOT use the equipment unsupervised until you have successfully passed the test. You may only train for one mode of the equipment (e.g. non-contact, STM, contact, low voltage) at a time, and should contact the module lead or one of the trainers of you are radically changing the samples or parameters of your scans. Ordinarily, users first train for contact (hi-voltage) or non-contact AFM mode.

Due to overuse, at this time only one person per research group is permitted to be qualified on the equipment.  Special accommodations may be made at the discretion of the module lead. If you do not log onto the SPM for any sixty (60) day period, you forfeit your qualification and must schedule your next session with the module lead to re-test. Reservations for the equipment may be made on the scheduling sheet next to the equipment, or by contacting the module lead.

Currently, the equipment is password protected. Qualified users are notified of the current password, as well as the equipment condition, via e-mail on a weekly basis

Procedures & Documentation