True Atomic Resolution by Atomic Force Microscopy Through Repulsive and Attractive Forces

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Science  04 Jun 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5113, pp. 1451-1456
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5113.1451


The (1014) cleavage plane of calcite has been investigated by atomic force microscopy in water at room temperature. True lateral atomic-scale resolution was achieved; the atomic-scale periodicities as well as the expected relative positions of the atoms within each unit cell were obtained. Along monoatomic step lines, atomic-scale kinks, representing point-like defects, were resolved. Attractive forces on the order of 10-11 newton acting between single atomic sites on the sample and the front atoms of the tip were directly measured and provided the highest, most reliable resolution on a flat, well-ordered surface.