The atomic force microscope (AFM) is capable
of imaging local material properties such
as topology, friction, electrostatic interaction,
electrical conductivity, magnetism etc. The image
is obtained by scanning a probe over a selected
area and detecting the force between the probe
and the sample.
To obtain the image, AFMs can generally
measure the vertical and lateral deflections
of the SmartActiveProbe by using an
optical lever. A feedback circuit keeps the
cantilever-bending constant by adjusting the voltages
applied to the x, y, z scanner.