Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) in animated schemes

Basic SPM techniques

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM):


Atomic lattice of carbon nanotube as visualized by STM

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

Contact modes


Intermittent- or non-contact modes

Samples of AFM images:

Carbon  nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes
Protein  molecules
Protein molecules
Living  cell
Living cell
Magnetic  film
Magnetic film

Advanced techniques

Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) – optical properties beyond diffraction limit!

diffraction of light

Diffraction of light in the focus of microobjective lens


Mitochondria dyed with FITC-labeled antibodies (note that resolution of fluorescence image is much better then 200 nm – diffraction limit)

Raman Spectroscopy of ultra-high resolution (far beyond diffraction limit)

raman spectroscopy

Effect of TERS (Tip-Enhanced Raman Scattering). Raman signal becomes several orders of magnitude stronger. Moreover it is confined to the small area around the SPM tip, thus spatial resolution of Raman spectroscopy and Raman imaging occurs tens of nanometers. Compare to about 200 nm (diffraction limit for visible wavelengths).



Nanotubes in Raman. Left – confocal Raman image (diffraction-limited). Right – TERS image.

TERS imaging provides almost the same resolution as SPM one: branching points of carbon nanotube bundle are clearly seen on both AFM (upper) and TERS (lower) images. Image courtesy of  Prof. R. Zenobi (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Dr. G. Hoffman, Dr. J. Loos, (TUE, the Netherlands), and Dr. P. Dorojkin (NT-MDT). Images obtained with the NanoLaboratory NTEGRA Spectra.

AFM Tomography



Cross-section of multi-wall carbon nanotube network embedded in polymer matrix (2.0x2.0 um). Left – phase image, shows local differences in elasticity. Right – spreading resistance image, shows local differences in electrical conductivity.

sd tomography

3D model of the conductive nanotube network within polymer matrix, as reconstructed from series of 22 spreading resistance images. Dimensions of reconstructed volume 2.0x2.0x0.3 um, distance between individual layers (2D images) - 12 nm.

Advanced reading