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Animation showing how an atomic force microscope (AFM) works. Atomic force microscopy is a high-resolution imaging technique used to study surfaces at the nanometre scale. It uses a very fine tip on a cantilever (gold), which interacts with the surface being measured (silver helices), moving up and down as it passes extremely close to it. A laser is aimed at the cantilever and reflects off it onto a detector. The detector translates the movements of the reflected laser spot into a topographical map of the surface.
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