Course Catalog

Understanding and Utilizing Atomic Force Microscopy: From Basic Modes to Advanced Applications

In the two decades since the explosive appearance of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in university and corporate laboratories, a huge user base has grown in the areas of materials, surface, colloidal, polymer, physical and analytical chemistry. AFM can be scientifically rich, methodologically detailed, and almost uniquely applicable to all elements of materials-derived R&D:  structure, properties, processing and performance.

Commonly, however, AFM is underutilized. In part this reflects the poor level of most AFM training, which has bypassed traditional standards of education. Many users have received only minimal training – at the level of knobs, buttons, and mouse clicks – and thus correspondingly use the instrument at minimal performance, unaware of its broader capabilities.

The purpose of this course is to provide a deeper understanding of AFM, especially as applies to property-sensitive imaging and measurements, leading to more illuminating applications. Firstly, the course will help users avoid pitfalls: artifacts in and misinterpretations of so-called surface topography data. Secondly the participant will learn to interrogate and contrast materials via complementary imaging and measurement modes, and process these data in rigorous ways. Thirdly the participant will learn to explore environmental parameters (humidity, temperature, liquids) to unveil important and characteristic behaviors in materials.

Course Details

Key Topics

  • The research capabilities of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) – what one can do with it, with some emphasis on soft materials
  • Principles of AFM operation, including difficulties and limitations that one encounters whether using hands-on or considering the findings of collaborators or service providers
  • Compositional and property analysis with AFM
  • Environmentally controlled AFM methods (temperature/humidity/in-liquid)
  • Some advanced and newer AFM  methods that have broad utility but are more difficult to understand (e.g., multifrequency methods)

Information

In the two decades since the explosive appearance of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in university and corporate laboratories, a huge user base has grown in the areas of materials, surface, colloidal, polymer, physical and analytical chemistry. AFM can be scientifically rich, methodologically detailed, and almost uniquely applicable to all elements of materials-derived R&D:  structure, properties, processing and performance.

Commonly, however, AFM is underutilized. In part this reflects the poor level of most AFM training, which has bypassed traditional standards of education. Many users have received only minimal training – at the level of knobs, buttons, and mouse clicks – and thus correspondingly use the instrument at minimal performance, unaware of its broader capabilities.

The purpose of this course is to provide a deeper understanding of AFM, especially as applies to property-sensitive imaging and measurements, leading to more illuminating applications. Firstly, the course will help users avoid pitfalls: artifacts in and misinterpretations of so-called surface topography data. Secondly the participant will learn to interrogate and contrast materials via complementary imaging and measurement modes, and process these data in rigorous ways. Thirdly the participant will learn to explore environmental parameters (humidity, temperature, liquids) to unveil important and characteristic behaviors in materials.

Who Should Attend

Many industries invested in materials: micro/nano-electronics, biomedical technology, pharmaceutics, plastics/polymers, adhesives, lubricants, bioproducts (food, paper, etc.), personal care products (conditioners, etc.); any micro/nano-structured material technology.

Jobs are those using materials analysis tools or seeking the services of those who use these tools for the evaluation of technologies (R&D, quality control) that have materials/surface/interfacial questions. Also students and postdocs who use AFM, and their advisers, in research spanning all technologies dependent on nanostructured materials.

Benefits

Upon completion of this course, the participant will

  • have new insights of how AFM imaging and measurements can be brought to bear in materials and technological research;
  • understand the role of environmental conditions (i.e., humidity, immersion liquid) in affecting contrast mechanisms and revealing characteristic behaviors;
  • better appreciate the critical and conjugate roles of measurement rate and temperature to material response functions;
  • be prepared to invoke judicious settings of operational parameters to obtain more revealing / higher-resolution images and more useful data;
  • recognize misuses of AFM and/or misinterpretations of AFM data;
  • be armed with data post-processing methodologies so as to create more elucidating images and better analyze quantitative information.

Agenda

A. Broad overview of AFM concepts, modes and capabilities:

  • Imaging/mapping
  • Analysis of sample properties/behavior
  • Environmental control (temperature/humidity/in-liquid)
  • Previews in soft materials and biology

B. Details of imaging surface topography

  • Principles of operation: fundamentals of quasistatic and dynamic tracking modes
  • Realities – magnitude of error, resolution, signal/noise; practical misconceptions, device nonidealities and caveats, workarounds
  • Metrics of surface topography, examples of technological surface metrology

C. Compositionally elucidating methods

  • Shear forces: revealing crystallinity, anisotropy, disorder
  • Distance-dependent forces: tip-sample adhesion, elastic deformation, capillarity, interfacial forces in aqueous environments
  • Phase imaging: high spatial resolution on delicate samples, physical interpretations and misconceptions, attractive/repulsive regimes

D. Advanced methods

  • Mapping distance-dependent forces for high information content (data cube)
  • Transformations in material behavior as a function of temperature and humidity
  • Quantitative physical property analysis: friction/wear/lubrication, adhesive nanomechanics, electromagnetic properties
  • Multifrequency dynamic modes

E. Practical examples, combining methods: utility in R&D and quality control

Course Locations

Date

TBA

Please note date change

Check-in opens at 7:30 a.m.

Course runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Register Via Mail

Venue


Pricing
  Member Non-Member
Advanced $895 $1,095
Standard $1,095 $1,295

The course fee includes a course binder and a continental breakfast.

Five for Four! Register five people for one course, one person for five courses, or any combination in between and your fifth registration is free. Note: This discount is only available if you register by fax or mail and mention this discount. May not be combined with any other offer.

About the Instructors

  • Dalia Yablon

    holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University.

  • Greg Haugstad

    is technical staff member and director of the Characterization Facility (CharFac), a set of core research labs in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.