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.
Other science section
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 Microscopiy 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
Download the AFM and other Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Handbook
Professor Oleg Kolosov
AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Chair
Oleg explores nanometre length and nanosecond time scale physical phenomena in materials and devices. He published 150 refereed papers, was awarded 28 patents, co-written three book chapters and a monograph, and is a PI on EPSRC and EU grants. His inventions include Ultrasonic and Heterodyne Force Microscopies, Immersion Scanning Thermal Microscopy and nano‐manipulation of ferroelectric domains. He was a Fellow of Science and Technology Agency of Japan, Advanced EPSRC Fellow at Oxford University, UK, a Director of Innovation at Symyx Technologies, USA. Oleg is a Director of Lancaster Materials Analysis he founded in 2016 and served as an interim director establishing Lancaster Materials Science Institute of which he is currently a Deputy Director. He is a recipient of Metrology for World Class Manufacturing, two Paul Instrument Fund Awards and his students were among top UK Physics students in 2010 and 2012.
Professor Sonia Contera
AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Vice Chair
University of Oxford
Sonia is an Associate Professor in Biological Physics at the University of Oxford. She works at the interface of nanomaterials, physics and biology and she is an expert in atomic force microscopy. Currently she collaborates with engineers, biologists, chemists and mathematicians in various multidisciplinary projects that range from understanding the mechanical aspects to plant growth to developing materials for tissue engineering, and developing methods for measuring mechanoelectrical coupling in neurons. She has a special interest in the role of mechanics in linking molecular function with cellular biology and in learning how this knowledge can be used for creating better materials with applications in healthcare. Sonia often writes pieces for the general press , e.g. in WIRED magazine or the Huffington Post, and also works with international organisations such as the World Economic Forum. She has just finished a book entitled "Transmateria: Nanotechnology and the future of biology and Medicine" and she is preparing a Soapbox Science "performance" with artist Ellen McAleavey for the Oxford Arts Festival.
Professor Jamie Hobbs
AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Deputy Chair
University of Sheffield
Jamie received a BSc in Physics from the University of Bristol in 1991, followed by a PhD in polymer physics, also from Bristol. Following work with Peter Barham and Andrew Keller on polymer crystallization, he worked with Mervyn Miles using and developing AFM for studying polymers. He pioneered methods for following polymer crystallization in real time, and then co-developed a new high speed scanning (videoAFM) approach which led to the launch of a spin-out company, Infinitesima Ltd. On moving to Sheffield in 2004 he started to collaborate widely with biologists, as well as further developing AFM approaches for high speed and high resolution imaging. His work is now focused on the development and application of AFM for imaging living systems, in particular bacteria, plants and cancer.
Dr Charles Clifford
National Physical Laboratory
Charles is a senior research scientist in the Surface and Nano-Analysis group at the National Physical Laboratory. Charles's research has a focus on developing and understanding scanning probe microscopy techniques in order to give quantitative information on a surface at the nanoscale beyond 'pretty pictures'. He studies a wide range of materials in collaboration with industry and academia using AFM and other surface analytical techniques. He obtained a MSci in Chemistry and Molecular Physics at the University of Nottingham and his PhD from the University of Sheffield supervised by Prof Graham Leggett. Charles is the chair of the British standards institute panel on characterisation and measurement techniques in nanotechnologies, a mirror committee for ISO TC229/JWG2 and the principle UK expert for the international standardisation committee on scanning probe microscopy (ISO TC/201/SC9).
Professor Lorna Dougan
University of Leeds
Lorna is an Associate Professor in the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. Before joining in 2009, Lorna held a postdoctoral researcher position in the Biological Sciences department at Columbia University in New York. Lorna is a physicist by training (MPhys and PhD) and during this time held a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. More recently she was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry MacroGroup UK Young Researchers Medal in 2013 and the Medical Research Council and Royal Society Suffrage Science Award in 2015. Lorna's research interests span biophysics and soft matter physics.
Dr Laura Fumagalli
AFM & SPM Representative infocus Editorial Board
University of Manchester
Laura graduated in electronic engineering in 2002 and obtained her PhD in 2006 at Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy) with a doctoral thesis on low-noise amplifiers. She then joined the Electronic Department of the University of Barcelona and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (Spain), where she developed novel instrumentation and techniques for scanning probe microscopy to probe electrical properties at the nanoscale, in particular capacitance and dielectric properties of nano-materials and biomolecules. From 2015, she is lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Manchester (UK) and researcher of the National Graphene Institute - University of Manchester.
Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan
University of Cambridge
Sohini is a Reader (Associate Professor) of Device & Energy Materials in the Department of Materials Science, University of Cambridge. She received a BSc (Honours) in Physics in 2001 from the University of Calcutta, India, followed by MS (2004) and PhD (2009) in Physics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Following a postdoctoral appointment at the Department of Materials Science in Cambridge, she was awarded a prestigious Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2012, and a European Research Council Starting Grant in 2015. She was the recipient of a World Economic Forum Young Scientist Award in 2015, and is a Fellow of Clare Hall College, Cambridge. Her research focuses on functional nanomaterials and devices for applications in energy, sensing and bio-medicine, and her group specialises in experimental techniques ranging from scanning probe microscopy to additive manufacturing
Dr Brian Rodriguez
University College Dublin
Brian is an Associate Professor in the School of Physics and a Fellow of the Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research at University College Dublin. He graduated from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, USA) with a PhD in Physics in 2003 and subsequently held a postdoctoral appointment at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, USA). In 2007, he received an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics (Halle, Germany). His group’s research is focused on functional materials and advanced scanning probe microscopy-based characterization techniques. In particular, his group develops and employs techniques to measure electrostatic interactions and electromechanical coupling in materials and at the solid-liquid interface.
Dr Steven Schofield
University College London
Steven is an Associate Professor in Condensed Matter Physics at University College London. His research is focused on understanding and controlling the fundamental quantum properties of matter at the atomic scale for potential applications in classical and quantum information processing. His research group uses atomic-scale fabrication and cryogenic-temperature, ultrahigh-vacuum scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy to create and investigate nanostructures in semiconductor and two-dimensional materials. Often these measurements are made in conjunction with complementary techniques including momentum-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and quantum simulation. Steven is a former chair of the Nanoscale Physics and Technology group of the Institute of Physics (2012-2017), and is the current Nanometer Structures Division representative for the UK to the International Union for Vacuum Science Techniques and Applications (IUVSTA).
Dr James Vicary
Nu Nano Ltd
James is Managing Director of Nu Nano Ltd, a UK start-up specialising in the design and manufacture of AFM probes. He completed his PhD at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof. Mervyn Miles, exploring the use of high-speed atomic force microscopy for nanofabrication. During his subsequent postdoctoral research he moved into microfabrication, where he developed novel ultra-soft silicon nitride cantilevers for vertical probe microscopy. This enabled colleagues to explore force regimes up to 1000 times smaller than can be achieved with conventional AFM. This microfabrication experience led James to found NuNano in order to bring these novel probes to the wider scientific community and develop new manufacturing standards for conventional AFM probes.
Dr David Morgan
David is the Technical Sales Manager at Nanosurf’s UK office, which covers the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia. Nanosurf manufacturers next level Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM) for research, quality control and educational purposes. David has an MChem degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford and worked there on research projects inducing crystal formation inside carbon nanotubes, electrical and electrochemical measurements of nanoscale polymer junctions and their use in the synthesis of glucose biosensors. David then spent 11 years at Windsor Scientific, initially as a development scientist working on their combined AFM/SECM system and eventually being responsible for sales and technical support of their range of surface science instruments including AFM systems, 3D optical profilers and nanoindenters. He joined Nanosurf in 2018 as they expand their worldwide presence.
Dr Vladimir Korolkov
Dr Vishal Panchal
Dr Minkyung Kang
AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section Early Career Representative
Deakin University, Australia
Minkyung received BSc and MSc in Chemistry at Ewha Womans University (South Korea) and completed her PhD in Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group at the University of Warwick in 2017. She built strong background in electrochemistry and developed her expertise in state-of-the-art instrumentation and novel experimental approaches for scanning electrochemical probe microscopy (SEPM) at Warwick. On her current projects, she has a special interest in SEPM applications for fundamental studies of the (nano)interfaces involved in electrocatalysis.
The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Section of the Royal Microscopical Society took place virtually on 16 November 2020. The day also included a number of talks given by the Mid-Career Award winners.
All the Society’s AGMs are free to attend for both members and non-members. The 2021 AGM of the AFM & SPM Section will take place in the Autumn, and further details will be available soon.
If you would like to make a committee member nomination, or if you are interested in joining any of the committees in the future, please contact Allison Winton.