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Force sensors are key elements of atomic force microscopes and surface profilometers. Sensors with an integrated deflection meter are particularly desirable. Here, quartz tuning forks as used in watches are utilized as force sensors. A novel technique is employed which simplifies the interpretation of the data and increases the imaging speed by at least one order of magnitude compared to previous implementations. The variation of the imaging signal with distance fits well to a Hertzian contact model. Images of compact discs and calibration gratings, which have been obtained with scanning speeds up to 230 μm/s, are presented. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.