Nanoscale Probe Techniques

  • Matthias Scherge
  • Stanislav S. Gorb
Part of the NanoScience and Technology book series (NANO)


The family of instruments which measure physical and chemical properties on the nanometer scale are called Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM). In this section scanning probe microscopy is discussed in the context of its use in micro- and nanotribology [580]. Although the instruments — STM, AFM and their modifications — are commonly used on both length scales, distinctions between micro and nano have to be made, since the range of application differs significantly. Whereas on the microscale the instrument is mainly used to measure topography [581], friction [582], adhesion and mechanical properties, SPMs provide detailed information on structural properties [583–588], chemistry [589–592] and motion on the nanoscale [593–596]. The use of scanning probe techniques for biological applications [597, 598] was promoted by the simplification of preparation techniques and the handling of different sample types. Furthermore, a new interesting feature is the option to analyze living substrates in their native environment [599, 600]. The samples can be imaged in their hydrated state, eliminating shrinkage and thus degradation.


Atomic Force Microscope Scan Tunneling Microscope Scan Probe Microscope Water Film Tunneling Current 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Scherge
    • 1
  • Stanislav S. Gorb
    • 2
  1. 1.Basic and Tribology ResearchIAVF Antriebstechnik AGKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Biologische Mikrotribologie GruppeMPI für EntwicklungsbiologieTübingenGermany

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