Atomic Force Microscope

Atomic force microscopes (AFM). Dimension Icon from Bruker and Asylum Research MFP-3D for characterisation of nano-ferroics.


During atomic force microscopy (AFM), a cantilever with a sharp tip is scanned across a sample surface where cumulative forces between atoms in the tip and surface are probed to yield a nanometer-resolution topography map. Using conductive probes, nano-scale electric and nanomechanical properties can be measured. Using probes coated with thin layers of magnetic material, magnetic properties can be detected.

Our MFP-3D AFM is enabled with the capability of performing measurements in the presence of a variable magnetic field (±2500gauss). Our Bruker system generates high-resolution images in a matter of minutes with modes that include PeakForce Tapping. The most basic operation of an AFM is to imaging sample topography at atomic scale resolution. The Dimension Icon has the added ability to collect nanomechanical and electrical information while mapping the surface.

Atomic force microscopy (AFM), piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), magnetic force microscopy (MFM), nanomechanical, variable magnetic field


Bruker Dimension Icon
  • Wafer size: Up to 200mm wafers
  • Temperature Range: Room Temperature
  • AFM Modes include:
    • High Resolution Imaging: PeakForce Tapping™, ScanAsyst®, Contact Mode
    • Nanoelectrical Characterisation: PeakForce Tunneling AFM (PF-TUNA), Conductive AFM (C-AFM), Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM), Scanning Capacitance Microscopy (SCM), Scanning Spreading Resistance Microscopy (SSRM)
    • Nanomechanical Characterisation: PeakForce Quantitative Nanoscale Mechanical (QNM) Characterisation allows one to distinguish different nanomechanical properties—including friction, modulus, adhesion, dissipation, and deformation—with up to atomic resolution in topography
    • Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM)
    • DataCube: Permits multidimensional nanoscale information at every pixel, e.g. for SSRM and SCM
  • Fully Automated measurements
MFP-3D Asylum Research AFM
Simultaneous PFM and MFM under high tip-sample voltage bias (up to ±220V) in the presence of a high, variable magnetic field (up to ±2500G)

  • High voltage amplifier (up to ±220V)
  • DART (Dual AC Resonance Tracking) PFM mode
  • PFM lithography mode able to ‘write’ and pattern ferroelectric domain structures
  • VFM2-HV Variable Field Module: Magnetic force microscopy (MFM) imaging under a high, variable magnetic field

Ascent+ facility

Platform Technologies

  • Nano for Quantum Technologies
  • Disruptive Devices

Key Enabling Technologies

  • Metrology / Characterisation: Physical, mechanical and magnetic characterisation

Case Studies

  1. a)Topography, b)PFM amplitude and c)PFM phase images illustrating the capacity of PFM lithography to “write” and “read” information based on opposite ferroelectric polarisation states. [DOI: 10.1063/1.4734983]
  2. Reversible (encircled in yellow) and irreversible (encircled in green) magnetoelectric switching of ferroelectric domains in a multiferroic material under the influence of a variable magnetic field.[DOI: 10.1111/jace.14597]

Additional information

Key Enabling Capability

Metrology / Characterisation

Platform Technology

Disruptive Devices, Nano for Quantum Technologies