atomic force microscope
- noun a microscope that measures forces at the atomic level using a very sensitive crystal-tipped cantilever to probe a sample surface
- A microscope that utilizes a minute spring-mounted probe to scan the surface of a sample at an atomic level. A laser beam aimed at the probe follows its fluctuations as it is traced over the surface, and a detector linked to a computer uses this information to reproduce the topography of the sample. Its abbreviation is AFM.