Measurement methods in atomic force microscopy

Bruno Torre, Claudio Canale, Davide Ricci, Pier Carlo Braga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This chapter is introductory to the measurements: it explains different measurement techniques both for imaging and for force spectroscopy, on which most of the AFM experiments rely. It gives a general overview of the different techniques and of the output expected from the instrument; therefore it is, at a basic level, a good tool to properly start a new experiment. Concepts introduced in this chapter give the base for understanding the applications shown in the following chapters. Subheading 1 introduces the distinction between spectroscopy and imaging experiments and, within the last ones, between DC and AC mode. Subheading 2 is focused on DC mode (contact), explaining the topography and the lateral force channel. Subheading 3 introduces AC mode, both in noncontact and intermittent contact case. Phase imaging and force modulation are also discussed. Subheading 4 explains how the AFM can be used to measure local mechanical and adhesive properties of specimens by means of force spectroscopy technique. An overview on the state of the art and future trends in this field is also given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011.


  • AFM imaging modes
  • Contact mode
  • Force modulation
  • Force spectroscopy
  • Intermittent contact mode
  • Noncontact mode
  • Phase imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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