Atomic Scale Imaging of Minerals with the Atomic Force Microscope

  • G. Raina
  • R. W. Gauldie
  • S. K. Sharma
  • C. E. Helsley


We present in this paper the surface structure of minerals like mica, calcite and aragonite observed with the atomic force microscope (AFM). Surface images at atomic resolution on mica and calcite were achieved but it was not possible for us to achieve atomic resolution on aragonite crystals. We believe this is due to the poor cleavage in aragonite. Results of an experiment performed on mica to find the variability in the measurement of atomic distances are also presented. In the case of calcite (Iceland spar), we provide an analysis of the surface atomic structure on the (1011) perfect cleavage as observed with the AFM and compare it with X-ray diffraction data.


Atomic Force Microscopy Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Cleavage Plane Atomic Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    M. F. Hochella, C. M. Eggleston, V.B. Ehlings, and M.S. Thompson, Atomic structure and morphology of the albite [010] surface: An atomic force microcopy and electron diffraction study. American Mineralogist, 75: 723–730 (1990).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. Drake, and R. Hellman, Atomic force microscopy imaging of the albite (010) surface, American Mineralogist, 76: 1773–1776 (1991).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C.M. Eggleston and M.F. Hochella, Jr. Scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy of sulfide surfaces, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 54: 1511–1517 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    P.E Hillner, A.J. Gratz, S. Manne, and P.K. Hansma, Atomic scale imaging of calcite growth and dissolution in real time, Geology, 20: 359–362 (1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    R. Wiesendanger I V Shvets, D. Bürgler, G. Tach, H.J. Güntherodt, J.M.D. Coey, and S. Graser, Topographic and Magnetic Sensitive Scanning Tunneling Microcopy Study of Magnetite, Science, 255: 583–586 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    P.A. Johnsson, C.M. Eggleston, M.F. Hochella, Jr. Imaging molecular scale structure and microtopography of hematite with the atomic force microscope. American Mineralogist, 76: 14421445 (1991).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    F.J. Wicks, K. Kjoller, G.S. Henderson, Imaging the hydroxyl surface of Lizardite at atomic resolution with the atomic force microscope, Canadian Mineralogist, 30: 83–91 (1992).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    H. Lindgreen, J. Garnaes, P.L. Hansen, F. Besenbacher, E. Laegsgaard, I. Stensgaard, S.A.C. Gould, and P.K Hansma, Ultrafine particles of North Sea illite/smectite clay minerals investigated by STM and AFM, American Mineralogist, 76, 1218–1222 (1991).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    G. Friedbacher, P.K Hansma, E. Ramli, and G.D. Stucky, Imaging Powders with the atomic force microscope: From biominerals to commercial materials, Science, 20: 1261–1263 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    A.L. Rachlin, G.S. Henderson, and M.C. Goh, An atomic force microscope (AFM) study of the calcite cleavage place: Image averaging in Fourier space. American Mineralogist, 77: 904–910 (1992).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    W.L. Bragg, G.F. Claringbull, and W.H. Taylor, “The Crystalline State, vol. III Crystalline Structure of Minerals,” Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York (1965).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    S.L. Stipp and M.F. Hochella, Jr. Structure and bonding environments at the calcite surface as observed with x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and low energy electron diffraction (LEED), Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 55: 1723–1736 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Raina
    • 1
  • R. W. Gauldie
    • 1
  • S. K. Sharma
    • 1
  • C. E. Helsley
    • 1
  1. 1.Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, School of Ocean Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations