Building Atomic Force Microscopes    

AFM Workshop 2012

The first Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) Workshop was held from January 30th through February 2nd, 2012 at the SPM Teaching Laboratory housed in the Liquid Crystal Institute.  25 participants, mostly senior graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, came from Department of Physics, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program/LCI, and spent a whole week with Dr. Paul West, President, AFM Workshop, Inc.

This first workshop was particularly unique in that participants could have a chance to build AFMs from separate parts, and learn the detailed design, the engineering concepts as well as the operating principles and skills.  Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was invented in 1986 a few years after the invention of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to which Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded.  Because of its versatility - being operable in ambient air, water and vacuum even on electrically non-conductive samples, AFM has become one of the most fundamental analytical tools in physics, chemistry and biology labs all over the world. The AFM is powerful not only for molecular level profiling of soft surfaces but also for nanometer scale manipulation of surface structures.

The LCI installed five sets of AFMs in the teaching lab as the core instruments of the LCI Characterization Facility. Engaging presentations by Dr. West stimulated participants through out the workshop. The AFM workshop will be periodically organized as a regular training course.  The AFMs will be available for research projects on campus as a part of the shared facility.

February 3, 2012