AFM & other Scanning Probe Microscopies

Formerly known as Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM), the section was established in 2012 to give recognition to a well-defined community of microscopists worldwide, and provide a support network for a number of world-leading companies in the sector. The committee are particularly keen to hear from and engage with PhD students.

About

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) & other Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) describes a family of techniques, distinct from the Light and Electron Microscopies in that its spatial resolution is defined not by the wavelength of radiation (such as light, microwaves or electrons), but by the lateral dimensions of the nanoscale probe interrogating the surface, and the short-range nature of the probe-surface interaction.  In Scanning Probe Microscopy a physical probe is positioned within a few nanometres of the surface, or in contact with the surface, and the probe is raster-scanned across the surface. A physical property of the surface, to which the probe is sensitive, is used as a control parameter to yield a true 3-dimensional image of the surface. An SPM “image” can contain information from a wide range of forces and interactions and, so SPM can provide quantitative maps of e.g. mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal, chemical, optical and electronic properties simultaneously with topography, and both to nanometre, atomic and even subatomic resolution in some conditions. With the development of high-speed SPM these maps can be acquired to time resolutions up to seconds and milliseconds.  The probe is often used to obtain local spectroscopic information about the behaviour of a particular property as a parameter such as distance or voltage is ramped. Two important examples of SPM spectroscopy are:  Force Spectroscopy, which quantifies the forces felt by the probe as a function of distance with the sample, and Scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS), an extension of scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), is used to provide information about the density of electrons in a sample as a function of their energy. AFM is also often used as a nanoindenter to obtain nanometre information about the mechanical properties of the sample as it is mechanically deformed.

The Scanning Probe Microscopy Section of the RMS has several distinguishing features:

  • We represent a diverse multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners 
  • We are developing a number of training short-courses as we look to build and support the community
  • We are opening a dialogue with the research councils on mutual training opportunities

The RMS is committed to being a welcoming, inclusive Society and encourages diversity across all activities and in the membership of our committees and groups.

If you are interested in joining any of the committees in the future, please contact Allison Winton.

RMS Section Awards

Launched in 2014, the Section Awards (formerly known as the Medal Series) recognise those who have made significant contributions to the field of microscopy. The RMS Section Awards celebrate outstanding scientific achievements across all areas of microscopy and flow cytometry with each RMS Science Section able to select a winner for their own award. 

Find out more

AFM and SPM Award

Committee 

Professor Oleg Kolosov

Professor Oleg Kolosov

AFM & other Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Chair, Lancaster University

Professor Sonia Contera

Professor Sonia Contera

AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Vice Chair, University of Oxford

Professor Jamie Hobbs

Professor Jamie Hobbs

AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Deputy Chair, University of Sheffield

Dr Charles Clifford

Dr Charles Clifford

National Physical Laboratory

Professor Lorna Dougan

Professor Lorna Dougan

Outreach & Education Committee Representative, University of Leeds 

Dr Laura Fumagalli

Dr Laura Fumagalli

AFM & other Scanning Probe Microscopies Representative infocus Editorial Board, University of Manchester

Dr Minkyung Kang

Dr Minkyung Kang

Early Career Representative, Deakin University

Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan

Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan

University of Cambridge 

Dr Vladimir Korolkov

Dr Vladimir Korolkov

Park Systems

Dr David Morgan

Dr David Morgan

Nanosurf

Dr Vishal Panchal

Dr Vishal Panchal

Bruker UK Ltd

Professor Brian Rodriguez

Professor Brian Rodriguez

University College Dublin

Dr Steven Schofield

Dr Steven Schofield

University College London

Dr James Vicary

Dr James Vicary

Nu Nano Ltd

AGM

The 2022 Annual General Meeting of the AFM & other Scanning Probe Microscopies Section of the Royal Microscopical Society will take place on 29 September 2022, as part of Microscopy: Advances, Innovation, Impact 2022 - incorporating the RMS AGM & Section AGMs. 

All the Society’s AGMs are free to attend for both members and non-members.