Since the introduction of the STM in 1981 and AFMin 1985, many variations of probe based microscopies, referred to as SPMs, have been developed. While the pure imaging capabilities of SPM techniques is dominated by the application of these methods at their early development stages, the physics of probe—sample interactions and the quantitative analyses of tribological, electronic, magnetic, biological, and chemical surfaces have now become of increasing interest. Nanoscale science and technology are strongly driven by SPMs which allow investigation and manipulation of surfaces down to the atomic scale. With growing understanding of the underlying interaction mechanisms, SPMs have found applications in many fields outside basic research fields. In addition, various derivatives of all these methods have been developed for special applications, some of them targeted far beyond microscopy.
This chapter presents an overview of STM and AFM and various probes (tips) used in these instruments, followed by details on AFM instrumentation and analyses.