High-speed atomic force microscopy for materials science

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Since its inception in 1986, the field of atomic force microscopy (AFM) has enabled surface analysis and characterisation with unparalleled resolution in a wide variety of environments. However, the technique is limited by very low sample throughput and temporal resolution making it impractical for materials science research on macro sized or time evolving samples such as the bservation
of corrosion. The potential of AFM sparked intense efforts to overcome these limitations shortly after its invention, and has led to the development of high-speed atomic force microscopes (HSAFMs). Within the last 5 years the technology underpinning these instruments has matured to the point where routine imaging can achieve megapixels per second over scan areas of square millimetres, removing the limitations from AFM for industrial scale materials characterisation. This review explains the technology and looks to the future use of HS-AFMs in materials science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-494
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Materials Reviews
Issue number8
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016

Structured keywords

  • Engineering Mathematics Research Group


  • atomic force microscope
  • High-speed atomic force microscopy
  • high-speed AFM
  • Material analysis
  • Review


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  • Ionic solutions of two-dimensional materials

    Cullen, P., Cox, K., Subhan, M., Picco, L., Payton, O., Buckley, D., Miller, T., Hodge, S., Skipper, N. T., Tileli, V. & Howard, C., Mar 2017, In: Nature Chemistry. 9, 3, p. 244–249 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    Open Access
    63 Citations (Scopus)
    486 Downloads (Pure)

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