Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM)The SPMs (Scanning Probe Microscopes) represent the basic instrumentations for Nanotechnologies.
The SPMs are particular types of microscopes that exploit physical variables in order to construct an image with very high magnification (resolution up to atomic resolution).
In these microscopy techniques a very sharp probe is positioned close to the sample surface (a few nanometers), and it runs scanning the surface and measuring the interaction between the probe and the sample at each point. The image obtained is the result of signals acquisition in xyz axis: these techniques provide an accurate real three-dimensional image of the sample surface (3D Topography).
It is possible to acquire different physical properties (electric, magnetic, optical, …) of the sample, obtaining different images of the sample, using different type of probe.
STM, AFM and SNOM represent different type of SPM Microscopes that are characterized by a different measuring probe.
STM measures the tunnelling current between the tip and the sample surface to reveal the topography of the sample at atomic resolution
AFM exploits atomic interaction forces between the tip and the sample surface to reconstruct the topography of the sample nanostructures
SNOM gathers the Near-Field Light (using a fiber optic probe) to give simultaneously topographical and optical images of the sample
A.P.E. Research instruments allow the investigation of the morphology and the local properties of the sample surface with high spatial resolution, accuracy and precision.