Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Detection of Atomic Force Microscopy Cantilever Displacement with a Transmitted Electron Beam



Ryan B. Wagner, Taylor J. Woehl, Robert R. Keller, Jason P. Killgore


Cantilever motion in atomic force microscopy (AFM) systems is typically measured with an optical lever system. The response time of AFM cantilevers can be decreased by reducing the size of the cantilever; however, the fastest AFM cantilevers are currently nearing the smallest size that can be detected with the optical lever approach. Here we demonstrate an electron beam detection scheme for measuring AFM cantilever oscillations. The oscillating AFM tip is positioned perpendicular to a stationary nanometer sized electron beam probe. As the tip oscillates, the thickness of material scattering the electron beam modulates, causing a fluctuation in the number of transmitted electrons that are detected. We demonstrate detection of sub-nanometer vibration amplitudes with a nanometer-scale electron beam probe, providing a pathway for dynamic AFM with cantilevers that are orders of magnitude smaller and faster than the current state of the art.
Applied Physics Letters


Atomic Force Microscopy, Transmission Scanning Electron Microscopy


Wagner, R. , Woehl, T. , Keller, R. and Killgore, J. (2016), Detection of Atomic Force Microscopy Cantilever Displacement with a Transmitted Electron Beam, Applied Physics Letters, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created July 29, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017