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A simple, practical, and reliable method has been developed to bend the carbon nanotube probe of an atomic force microscope to vertically align with the sample structure. It must first be realized that carbon nanotubes can be plastically deformed only when they are in bundle. The bundled tubes can be bent gradually and almost continuously. By scanning a patterned sample, both the bent position and angle of the attached tube probe can be adjusted. These probes also display a self-tuning character, which makes them superior than other supersharp tips for imaging structures of great depth. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.