Scanning probe microscope (SPM)


Any microscope that uses a probe with a tip of atomic scale and scans it in a raster pattern close to the specimen for measuring physical quantities between the probe and the surface to obtain image.

By approaching a sharply pointed probe tip to the surface of the specimen, various physical forces that work between the probe and the specimen can be measured at a resolution of an atomic scale. In general, the probe is moved over the surface of the specimen in a raster pattern while keeping the measured physical quantity to a constant level, and the displacement of the probe in doing so is used as the data for drawing a fine image of the specimen. This is the common principle of different types of SPM, that is, the scanning tunnel microscope, atomic force microscope, electrostatic force microscope, scanning ion microscope, scanning magnetic field microscope, scanning temperature microscope, and scanning friction force microscope.


[Related Terms]
Electrostatic force microscope