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Park AFM Modes and Techniques

Park AFM Nanomechanical Mode

PinPoint™ Nanomechanical Mode


PinPoint™ Nanomechanical mode obtains the best of resolution and accuracy for nanomechanical characterization. Stiffness, elastic modulus, adhesion forces are acquired simultaneously in real-time. While the XY scanner stops, the high speed force-distance curves are taken with well-defined control of contact force and contact time between the tip and the sample. Due to controllable data acquisition time, PinPoint™ Nanomechanical mode allows optimized nanomechanical measurement with high signal-to-noise ratio over various sample surfaces.

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Read more about accurate Nanomechanical Imaging via PinPoint here

Video: Characterizing Multicomponent Polymer with PinPoint™ AFM





[Adhesion force]





PS-b-PEO (Polystylene-b-polyethylene oxide)
Scan size: 10µm

Force-Distance Spectroscopy

Force Measurement of Tip-Sample Interaction


Here, Force distance (FD) spectroscopy is a straightforward and reliable technique to quantitatively study nanomechanical properties such as Young’s modulus and adhesion force on a variety of samples. Therefore, FD spectroscopy has become a fundamental characterization tool in several fields of research, including polymer science, biochemistry, and biology. 

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The various elastic properties that can be measured from Force vs. Distance curves.

Polymer on glass
Scan size: 10µm
Using Probe: NSC26CNSC36C
Imaged on a Park AFM using F-D Spectroscopy mode.

Force Volume Imaging

Force Measurement of Tip-Sample Interaction

Force volume imaging provides a detailed map of the sample’s material properties by plotting parameters such as stiffness, cantilever snap-in, and adhesion. Parameters extracted from Force Distance (F-D) spectroscopy curves are put into a matrix that quickly and easily allows researchers to gain insights about samples properties.





Polymer on glass
Scan size: 10µm
Using Probe: NSC36C
Imaged on a Park AFM using Force-Distance spectroscopy mode.

Force Modulation Microscopy (FMM)


Force Amplitude and Phase Imaging of Sample Elasticity

In addition to topographic imaging, Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is routinely used to resolve mechanical properties of various samples for material and life science on the nanometer scale. An established technique to probe nanomechanical properties is Force modulation microscopy (FMM). FMM is based on contact mode AFM with an additional mechanical modulation that is applied to the cantilever during the contact scan.

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[Topography]/[FMM Phase]

Crystal Facetts
Scan size: 10µm
Using Probe: NSC36C
Imaged on a Park AFM using FMM.

Lateral Force Microscopy (LFM)


Mapping of the Frictional Force

In AFM, frictional properties can be investigated via Lateral force microscopy (LFM). LFM can be used to study differences in material compositions on coating layers, lubricant properties, strength of adhesion on patterned structures and so on.

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[Topography] / [LFM Image (Left to Right)] / [LFM Image (Right to Left)]

Polymer on Silicon
Scan size: 2µm
Using Probe: NSC36C
Imaged on a Park AFM using LFM Mode.



Advanced Vector Nanolithography Using Closed Loop Scan System

The Nanolithography mode allows you to manipulate and create patterning on the sample surface through applied force or voltage. Tip position for lithography can be easily controlled by importing your own vector drawings or raster (bitmap) images.

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Pattern created on the surface by plowing the surface with the tip (a) and by changing the surface with applied bias (b)


Vector Nanolithography. The image is generated in vector by applying negative voltage between -5 and -10 V. Scanning rate was varied between 1 and 0.1 µm/s. The height of deposited oxide is about 2-4 nm.

Scan size: 4.5µm
Using Probe: Contsc Pt
Imaged on a Park AFM using Smartlitho mode.



Atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based Nanoindentation quantitatively characterizes local mechanical properties of target specimen. In this technique, a hard AFM indentation tip with known mechanical properties presses against a sample surface until the tip deforms the surface.

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NanoIndentation measures the hardness of a local region by pressing the indenter tip Into a sample.

Scan size: 5µm
Using Probe: Diamond indentor probe
Imaged on a Park AFM using Nanoindentation Mode.

Spring Constant Calibration by Thermal Method

Maintaining the proper spring calibration is critical for AFM force data accuracy. That’s why Park provides spring calibration using the thermal method, giving you accurate readings every time.