Lab-Based Course: AFM in Materials Science and Polymers

Two Day Training Course: May 10-11, 2016

Instructor: Dalia Yablon, Ph.D.

Boston, Massachusetts

AFM Overview, Technology, and Application to Materials Science and Polymers.

This two day course mixes lecture with labwork on the basics of atomic force microscopy and its specific application to imaging various materials. AFM hardware and software will be reviewed, with special emphasis on imaging modes and image processing. While we utilize AFMs from AFMWorkshop to teach basic concepts and demonstrate AFM operation, attendees with experience on any make or model of Atomic Force Microscope will find the labwork relevant and practical.

For polymer applications, the AFM now resides alongside optical microscopy and electron microscopy as an essential tool for characterization of polymer structure, morphology, and material properties.

The Atomic Force Microscope provides several important advantages over other microscopies, including an unmatched ability to provide contrast with minimal sample preparation. Additionally, because the AFM provides mechanical interaction between the tip and sample, it provides unparalleled material-based contrast together with the ability to measure mechanical properties such as stiffness and adhesion on the nanoscale in many materials.

The ability to discriminate materials based on their mechanical properties, coupled with nanometer lateral resolution, makes AFM the method of choice to characterize a variety of materials.

Topics To Be Covered

  • Overview of AFM operation and different modes
  • Polymer sample preparation
  • Overview of AFM hardware
  • Overview of AFM software and image processing
  • Imaging artifacts and best practices
  • Tapping mode and phase imaging for optimizing contrast
  • Imaging mechanical properties
  • Force spectroscopy and associated mechanical measurements
  • Common models to interpret force distance curves
  • Hybrid AFM-spectroscopy characterization (Raman and IR)


  • Scanning standard and reference samples
  • Topography and phase imaging
  • Force Spectroscopy
  • AFM calibration

To learn more about AFMWorkshop's Atomic Force Microscopes and their ability to characterize polymers, polymer blends, and polymer composites with nanometer lateral resolution, visit the AFMWorkshop Polymer Characterization Application page.

polymer AFM scanpolymer AFM scan

About the Instructor

Dalia YablonDalia Yablon Ph.D. is a physical chemist with 15 years of experience in the field of scanning probe microscopy (SPM). Dalia's 2013 book Scanning Probe Microscopy in Industrial Applications: Nanomechanical Characterization was published by Wiley. Dr. Yablon spent over a decade in the energy industry developing and leading a state of the art scanning probe microscopy/nanomechanical characterization facility at ExxonMobil Corporation's flagship R&D center in New Jersey. During this time, she developed and applied SPM methods to characterize, conduct failure analysis, and probe structure-property relationships across various sectors of ExxonMobil's business including polymers, tribology, corrosion, geochemistry, and metallurgy. In 2013, Dalia founded SurfaceChar, a scientific consulting company in the greater Boston area specializing in surface and interface characterization and measurement with a focus on scanning probe microscopy/atomic force microscopy.

Dr. Yablon holds an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Columbia University.

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Class Size is limited to 10 Students

Course Price is

    • $1495 before April 1st
    • $1750 after April 1st
    • $1250 Student Discount

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