E17: Introduction to Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for Industrial Applications

One-Day Course

Dr. Dalia Yablon, SurfaceChar, Sharon, MA

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a powerful microscopy method that images and measures surface properties such as topography, morphology, and mechanics with nanometer resolution in a variety of environments including air and fluids.  The AFM operates through a unique, mechanical interaction between probe and sample.  Though it was invented only 30 years ago, it has quickly penetrated into industrial R&D for quality control, structure-property relationship investigations, improved product formulation, enhanced processes, and new business opportunities.   AFMs are now routinely used in a variety of industries including:  chemicals, pharma, semiconductor, and personal care.  This course will introduce attendees to the technology and widespread capabilities of AFM with a focus on utility in industrial applications, and in the final segment offer practical advice for users on getting the most out of their AFM measurements.   This course is intended to supplement the 2017 EAS research symposium of “Industrial Applications of AFM”.

This one-day course will benefit technicians, researchers and managers from a broad range of science or engineering backgrounds who seek an introduction to AFM and its capabilities.  No prior AFM experience or knowledge is assumed, but having freshman level physics background is recommended.

1.  Overview of AFM 
     * Brief history 
     * Overview of operation
     * Resolution 
     * Overview of modes

2.  Mechanical Property Measurements
     * Nanoindentation 
     * Phase imaging 
     * Force spectroscopy 
     * Advanced methods – multifrequency, contact resonance, force modulation

3. Hybrid Methods 
     * AFM-Raman and TERS 
     * AFM-IR 
     * NSOM/SNOM

4.  Tips for Users 
     * Image processing and analysis 
     * Imaging Artifacts 
     * Tip shape characterization 
     * Calibrations 
     * Hardware nonlinearities

Dr. Dalia Yablon
holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University.  She spent 11 years at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering’s Corporate Strategic Research, its flagship research center in Annandale NJ.  At ExxonMobil, she served as Program Leader in various sectors of the energy business and developed a state of the art scanning probe microscopy/nanoindentation laboratory for nanoscale characterization of surfaces and interfaces.  She has worked in a number of cross-sector areas including polymers, tribology, lubrication, corrosion and unconventional gas resources with a specific focus on developing new nanomechanical characterization methods.  In 2013, Dalia founded a scientific consulting company in the greater Boston area, SurfaceChar, a surfaces and interfaces characterization, measurement, and educational/training consulting service with a focus on scanning probe microscopy/atomic force microscopy.  Dalia’s edited book, “Scanning Probe Microscopy in Industrial Applications” was published in 2013 by Wiley.