Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a technique widely used for probing the topography of surfaces at much higher magnifications than

those achieved using a traditional optical microscope. The technique relies on the interaction of atoms on a surface with a small sharp tip as it is rastered across the surface causing very small movements of the tip.

The technique has become increasing popular due to the wide range of samples it can successfully be applied to, as well as the growing range of material properties that it can probe.  The AFM facility in the materials department consists of two instruments; a Bruker Innova and an Asylum MFP-3d classic.

The Bruker Innova is available for routine analysis of samples and is able to probe the topography of the surface using standard tapping and contact modes, as well as electrical properties in conductive AFM (C-AFM) mode.

A wide range of modes are available on the MFP. In addition to standard topography we are able to investigate electrical (KPFM), magnetic (MFM), piezoelectric (PFM) and Nanomechanical properties (force mapping and AM-FM).

There is also a liquid cell, electrochemical cell, bioheater (heating from ambient to 80 °C, only in conjunction with liquid cell) and variable field module available for use with the MFP, further broadening the range of experiments possible within the facility.

Research within the facility covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to, topographical imaging of thin films, topographical and electric characterisation of 2D materials, characterisation of bio-active materials and imaging of cells.

With the Asylum MFP-3d instrument, we are able to perform  Contact and AC mode Imaging, MFM, PFM, KPFM and AM-FM.

AFM support and enquiries

  • Dr Victoria Bemmer

    Dr Victoria Bemmer, Department of Materials, Imeprial College London

    Personal details

    Dr Victoria Bemmer Research Facility Manager

    +44 (0)20 758 95111 ext. 56732

    Support with



    Department of Materials
    Royal School of Mines
    Lower Ground Floor, LG 60