Course syllabus

Scanning Probe Microscopy

FAF085, 7,5 credits, A (Second Cycle)

Valid for: 2013/14
Decided by: Education Board B
Date of Decision: 2013-04-10

General Information

Main field: Nanoscience.
Elective for: F4, F4-nf, N4-nf
Language of instruction: The course will be given in English


The course deals with the field of high-resolution microscopy using scanning probe methods. Today these techniques have found their use in a wide range of research areas – from advanced physics and chemistry with atomic precision to applications in biology, such as studies of single cells and viruses. The course will encompass both theoretical and practical aspects of handling and possible applications of SPM. The techniques of STM (Scanning Tunneling Microscopy) and AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) will be given particular attention.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
For a passing grade the student must

Competences and skills
For a passing grade the student must


Introduction to scanning probe microscopy. Instrumentation: positioning devices, probes, data acquisition/electronics, ultrahigh vacuum environment, and vibration isolation concepts. STM: principle and practical applications, methods for imaging and spectroscopy, structural, electronic, and chemical contrast mechanisms, sample and probe preparation, atomic resolution on metals and semiconductors. AFM: principle and practical applications, methods for imaging, force curves, applications. Optical SPM techniques: principles and practical applications. Examples of more advanced SPM techniques and combined methods. Applications of SPM in: condensed matter, chemistry, and nanotechnology.

Examination details

Grading scale: TH
Assessment: The assessment of the course consists of short exercises, a project, and an oral exam. The results of the project are presented in a written report and an oral presentation on a seminar. The final grade of the student is based on the exercises (20%), the project (30%), and the oral exam (50%).


Required prior knowledge: FFFF05 Solid State Physics or FFFF01 Electronic Materials.
The number of participants is limited to: 30
Selection: 1. Field of degree project. 2. Credits awarded or credited within the study programme. 3. Final grades on courses given within the study programme.

Reading list

Contact and other information

Course coordinator: Jan Knudsen,
Course coordinator: Rainer Timm,
Course homepage: