Atomic Force Microscopy by Yang Gan

This collection is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of atomic force microscopy (AFM).

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      30 years of atomic force microscopy (AFM)

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      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at

      High temperature, ultrafast imaging, Chemical force microscopy and Force spectroscopy in biology, AFM Force measurements and tip-surface interaction, Image artifacts, sharp tips, and image processing, Calibration of tip geometry, Calibration of cantilever, AFM Imaging modes, Nanotribology, AFM high resolution imaging, atomic force microscopy

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              This collection is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of atomic force microscopy (AFM). March 3, 1986 saw publication of the land-marking paper "Atomic force microscope" by G. Binnig, C. G. Quate and C. Gerber (Phys Rev Lett, 56 (1986) 930-933, citations >8,800) with the motivation to invent "a new type of microscope capable of investigating surfaces of insulators on an atomic scale" with high force and dimension resolution.

              Since then, AFM has given birth to a large family of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) or SXM where X stands for near-field optical, Kelvin, magnetic, acoustic, thermal, etc. More than 100,000 journal papers, ~6,000 papers/yr since 2008, have been published if one searches the Scopus database with "atomic force microscopy" or “force microscope”. Nowadays, many disciplines — physics, chemistry, biology, materials, minerals, medicine, geology, nanotechnology, etc — all benefit greatly from using AFM as an important and even key tool for characterization, fabrication and processing.


          Coverage of the collection

          In this collection, partly because of infeasibility of covering all topics of SPM, partly because of my personal research interests, topics covered here are only those important original research papers and reviews (the most are well-known and a few overlooked) related to topographical characterization in air/liquid and vacuum, imaging modes, calibration of cantilevers and tips, artifacts and imaging processing, surface and interfacial force measurements, chemical force microscopy, nanotribology, force spectroscopy in biology and soft matters, as well as new developments like ultra-fast imaging and metrology applications. About 200 papers will be assembled in this collection.

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