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Atomic force microscope in liquid with a specially designed probe for practical application

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3 Author(s)
Dongxian Zhang ; State Key Laboratory of Modern Optical Instruments, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, People’s Republic of China ; Haijun Zhang ; Lin, Xiaofeng

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An atomic force microscope (AFM) in liquid was developed. The specially designed AFM probe was composed of a tip attached to a cantilever, a cantilever-tip pedestal, a circular Plexiglas window, and a scanner which is made up of three perpendicular tube piezos. When the instrument works, the liquid level is between the upper and lower surface of the window, and a circular meniscus is established around the Plexiglas window, preventing the tip from being affected or destroyed by surface tension of the liquid. In this setup, the cantilever tip and the sample are completely immersed in fluid. Meanwhile, during the cantilever-tip scanning over the sample during measurement, this system has no restriction on the sample’s size and weight and has a high scanning speed, which can be up to 40 lines/s or 10 s for a 400×400 pixel image. Some experiments were carried out on the system to demonstrate the elegant performance. The results show that the AFM (i) enables the whole canitlever tip to dive into the fluid; (ii) the sample can also be totally immersed by the fluid; (iii) the size and weight of samples are not restricted, enabling the instrument to image comparatively large or heavy sample; (iv) it is capable of scanning over samples with high speed. All of these advantages indicate this AFM has a great prospect for practical applications.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:76 ,  Issue: 5 )