OverviewAtomic force microscopes (AFMs) belong to a family of instruments known as scanning probe microscopes. They are the principal enabling technology for the interdisciplinary research area known as nanoscience and engineering, or nanotechnology. To give you an idea about what scanning probe microscopes can do, you might enjoy reading two articles from Highlights for Children . The first one concerns scanning tunneling microscopes, which operate by monitoring quantum mechanical tunneling current; the second one is about the application of atomic force microscopy to fundamental studies of friction. Atomic force microscopes are capable of measuring forces between objects with a resolution of a few piconewtons.
I recommend the following poster, article, and books as starting points for learning about nanoscience and technology:
Last modified: June 2010