When microtechnology develops into nanotechnology, the characterisation tools have to be able to measure with single-digit nanometer resolution (0-9 nm).
For this purpose, Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM) are often a preferred choice, offering better resolution than Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM). DTU Danchip's AFMs offers a resolution down to 0.5nm.
The AFM is based on a tiny needle running over a surface in a chosen path (X and Y). The needle is mounted on a cantilever and will react to altitude differences (Z). The AFM is particular precise on the Z-axis.
The AFM is therefore predominatly a surface characterisation tool, and in principal very different from a SEM. Whereas SEM provides a more optical like, visual image, the AFM output is a graphical curve which can be compared to a 3D plot of a profilometer output. This provides more precise quantitative measurements compared to the SEM. For visualization of microstructures, the SEM is the preferred tool.
DTU Danchip's Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM) have been delivered by the American company, Veeco. See the full list of characterisation equipment.