Instrument: Asylum MFP-3D Atomic Force Microscope


Surface and Thin Film Analysis


139 Eberly Hall



The Asylum MFP-3D atomic force microscope (AFM) is both simple to use and is extremely versatile. The instrument is equipped with a closed liquid cell and can be used for imaging in air, in a controlled gas environment, or in liquids. Imaging can be performed in either contact mode for hard materials or in AC mode for softer samples. An ORCA cantilever holder is available for specialized electrochemical potential measurements on surfaces.

A few of the available experiments include:

  • Topological imaging of nanometer scale structures
  • Measurement of surface roughness
  • Bimodal Dual AC imaging for enhanced contrast 
  • Electrical conductivity imaging
  • Scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM) for measurement of surface potentials
  • Piezoelectric force microscopy (PFM)
  • Magnetic force microscopy (MFM)
  • Measurement of force curves for adhesion and conformational changes in biological molecules
  • Nanolithography using anodic oxidation

An example of nanolithography using the Asylum AFM- an engraving of the Pitt Logo on an n-type doped silicon wafer using anoidic oxidation on the 10 nm length scale (about 2000 times smaller than the width of a  human hair) imaged using phase mode: