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Recent Progress and Prospects of Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy

Seizo Morita*, a, Yasuhiro Sugawaraa, Kousuke Yokoyamaa, and Takayuki Uchihashib

aDepartment of Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
2-1 Yamada-Oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan

bJoint Research Center for Atom Technology
1-1-4 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0046, Japan

This is an abstract for a presentation given at the
Seventh Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
There will be a link from here to the full article when it is available on the web.


The atomic force microscope (AFM) is a unique microscope based on a mechanical method which has the following possibilities: (1) It has true atomic resolution, (2) it can measure atomic force (so called atomic force spectroscopy), (3) it can observe even insulator, and (4) it can measure mechanical response. However, contact mode imaging can be rather destructive and can not achieve observation of an atomic defect, although the periodic lattice structure can be imaged. On the other hand, above AFM possibilities may be fulfilled only by noncontact atomic force microscopy which was clearly demonstrated at the First International Workshop on Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy (NC-AFM98)[1].

Here, we present recent progress and prospects of noncontact atomic force microscopy. Recently, the noncontact atomic force microscope (NC-AFM) with true atomic resolution developed into a kind of spectroscopic tool which can measure three-dimensional force-related map. Here, we will report on site-dependent frequency shift curves measured on Si(111)7x7 surface using a Si tip which showed a clear difference between those above adatoms and above gaps between adatoms. Next, we will report on distance-dependent NC-AFM image patterns measured on Si(111)r3xr3-Ag surface using a Si tip[2]. Further, we will talk about the possibility that we can control the force interaction between tip and sample atoms by changing the tip atom on the cantilever tip apex[3]. These results show the possibility that the NC-AFM, which utilizes atomic force itself based on the atomic interaction, can provide observation, spectroscopy, discrimination, identification, control and manipulation of individual atomic force and also atom itself. Thus, the NC-AFM will have large possibility as a tool of the coming generation of atomic and molecular nanotechnology and also as the second generation of atom and molecular manipulator, and is expected to develop in very wide fields of science and engineering.


[1] Proc.of the First Int.Workshop on Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy, Appl.Surf.Sci.,140, 243-456 (1999).
[2] T.Minobe, T.Uchihashi, T.Tsukamoto, S.Orisaka, Y.Sugawara and S.Morita, Appl.Surf.Sci., 140, 298-303 (1999).
[3] T.Uchihashi, Y.Sugawara, T.Tsukamoto, M.Ohta, S.Morita and M.Suzuki, Phys.Rev.B, 56, 9834-9840 (1997).

*Corresponding Address:
Seizo Morita
Department of Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
2-1 Yamada-Oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Phone: +81-6-6879-7761; Fax: +81-6-6879-7764


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