Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STP) is often considered ‘the ancestor’ of atomic force microscopy. It was invented by scientists at IBM Zurich, who were then awarded a Nobel Prize in physics some years later. Advancements in this original technology are what prompted atomic force microscopes to be used in the commercial marketplace.
The scanning tunnelling microscope was the first instrument of its kind to generate genuine images of surfaces with atomic resolution – what would later become known to the community as ‘atomic lattice resolution.’ This then prompted the invention of revolutionary new technology that could be used to perform accurate research in a variety of industries.
If you’re interested in atomic force microscopes, you may be interested to know that the very first microscope prototype was created by a university researcher using aluminium foil to create a revolutionary second probe back in1985. This student was one of the researchers at the university where scanning microscopy was first invented just a few years previously.
As you may know, AFM products have been designed to measure the magnetic and electrical properties of a sample, as well as its height and friction. These precise measurements are made using an electronic probe that emits a low sound and offers researchers incredibly precise results.
The probe is scanned over a small area of sample and functions in three key modes: tapping, contact and non-contact. Non-contact application has been a relatively recent and revolutionary advancement in the market, although there are continuing developments as to its efficiency in laboratory settings.
The market for this kind of technology is expanding fast, and most research facilities now know that these microscopes are crucial to their studies. They are supplied all over the world, and our used in all leading research labs.
The benefits of using one are plentiful. Not only do the microscopes provide incredibly precise imaging of a sample, but they are also now able to scan a surface of up to 300mm, whereas previous models only had a perimeter of 200mm which could be incredibly limiting to research conducted into larger samples.
These models are now regularly distributed to biomedical and life science companies, as well as nanotechnology researchers all over the world – from Europe to the Asian Pacific and beyond. The creators of this technology have recently been granted a prestigious award and are widely acclaimed among the scientific and engineering communities.
Scientific discoveries have promoted improvement in the design of these devices and their applications over recent years. In the 25 years since their inception, a number of things have become possible in the marketplace for these products; namely the process of high-speed imaging which allows researchers to work more accurately and effectively.
AFM products have also been vital to the development of microbiological studies, allowing scientists to study bacteria and DNA up close using a much more accurate method.
But it’s not only the medical community that has experienced growth and discovery at the hands of this technology; the microscopes have also initiated vast technological and electrical advancement, too. If you work in a research facility and you’re looking to source one of these products, they can be found online through reputable manufacturers all over the world.
There is impressive growth for AFM companies all over the world, as it looks like their innovations are the key to furthering research in a number of fields. It would appear that future outlook for atomic force microscopy is a good one.