Article

Building A Do-It-Yourself Atomic Force Microscope

By James F. MacKay, Mad City Labs

Atomic force microscopes (AFMs) are versatile tools for characterizing surfaces down to the subnanometer scale. Researchers wanting to, say, map out the optical antennas they’ve inscribed on a chip, or measure the quantum dots they’ve created, can image objects at resolutions down to the picometer level by scanning an AFM over the surface. Researchers can build their own AFMs for as little as $30,000 using off-the-shelf components such as nanopositioning stages.

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