probe microscopy (rus. микроскопия, зондовая) — a combination of techniques used to determine local mechanical, electrical, magnetic and other properties of surfaces and creating images of surfaces of miscellaneous substances and materials with the help of microprobes; technology.


Probe microscopy allows one to obtain 3D images of the surfaces of examined specimens with a spatial resolution as high (for certain techniques) as several angstroms. Scanning tunnelling microscopy and atomic force microscopy are the most commonly used probe microscopy techniques. The family of probe microscopes is large and includes, together with scanning tunnelling and atomic force microscopes, many other types of instruments, such as near-field scanning optical microscopes (resolution up to 50 nm), scanning capacitance microscopes (resolution up to 500 nm), scanning thermal microscopes (longitudinal spatial resolution up to 50 nm), noncontact scanning microscopes (spatial resolution in specimen plane 5 nm), magnetic force microscopes (resolution below 100 nm), scanning friction microscopes, electrostatic force microscopes, inelastic tunnelling scanning microscopes for sensing phonon spectra of molecules, ballistic electron emission microscopes, inverse photoemission force microscopes and near-field acoustic microscopes.

Probe microscopes can also be used as nanotechnology tools that allow the surface of a substance (material) to be reconstructed on an atomic level.


  • Gusev Alexander I.


  1. Gusev A. I. Nanomaterials, Nanostructures, and Nanotechnologies (in Russian) // Fizmatlit, Moscow (2007) - 416 pp.
  2. Nevolin V. K. Probe Nanotechnology in Electronics (in Russian). - Moscow: Tekhnosfera, 2005 - 152 pp.