Sample Preparation Methods for Optimal HS-AFM Analysis: Duplex Stainless Steel

Research output: Working paperWorking paper and Preprints


The contact mode high-speed atomic force microscope (AFM) operates orders of magnitude faster than conventional AFMs. It is capable of capturing multiple frames per second with nanometre-scale lateral resolution and subatomic height resolution.This advancement in imaging rate allows for microscale analysis across macroscale surfaces, making it suitable for applications across materials science. However, the quality of the surface analysis obtained by high-speed AFM is highly dependent upon the standard
of sample preparation and the resultant nal surface nish. In this study, dierent surface preparation techniques that are commonly implemented within metallurgical studies are compared for samples of SAF 2205 duplex stainless steel. It was found that, while acid etching and electrolytic etching were optimal for the low resolution of optical microscopy, these methods were less suited for analysis by high resolution high-speed AFM. Mechanical and colloidal silica polishing was found to be the optimal method explored, as it provided a gentle etch of the surface allowing for high quality topographic maps of the sample surface.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusUnpublished - 9 Nov 2020


  • sample preparation
  • contact mode high-speed atomic force microscopy
  • duplex stainless steel
  • acid etching
  • electrolytic etching; focussed ion beam etching

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