A DIY AFM Whokshop





Introduction: A DIY AFM Whokshop

There is an DIY AFM workshop with one hobbyist from the States and one professor from India. They assembled their own DIY AFM within 2 hours crafting time.

Here is a link to previous project:


Step 1: Preparing the Parts Before Assembly......

Finish edges of the parts.

Step 2: This Time...we Use Instant Glue....

In stead of solder, all the structures are glued by instant glue, which makes assembly easier and healthier.

Step 3: Wiring the Scanner....

Use solder iron for wiring cables of the scanner.

Step 4: Gluing the Z Axis Transducer of the Scanner

Very important!

Step 5: Assembling the AFM Head

Again....glue everything.....

Step 6: ‚ÄčThe Optical and Mechanical Parts Are Done!

Just put one magnet on top of the Z transducer.

Step 7: Performance Evaluation

The optomechanical part is connected to a AFM controller

Step 8: Low Cost AFM Calibration Sample: DVD Data Tracks

Use the DVD data tracks (pitch= 740 nm) for calibrating scanning range of the scanner.

Step 9: Measuring the AFM Calibration Sample (NT MDT TGQ1)

The DIY AFM with economy AFM controller can successfully measure height of square calibration features 20 nm with contact mode.


Step 10: Measuring 1.4 Nm Features on the TGQ1

Surprisingly we found that the DIY AFM can work with non-contact mode (attractive interaction between atoms caused by van-der-Waals forces) which resolves 1.4 nm height feature on the TGQ1.


Step 11: The DIY AFM With Advanced Controller

The DIY AFM with advanced AFM controller can clearly see the DVD data tracks when operated in AC (Tapping) mode.

Step 12: The DIY AFM With Advanced Controller

20 nm Squares and 1.4 nm features are clearly seen.

Step 13: Measuring Nano Particles

Step 14: Resolution Limit Test....

The DIY AFM system with 12bits controller can resolve 0.5 nm which is similar to height of 2 carbon atom layers on HOPG (Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite) surface.



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    Please be positive and constructive.




    Dear Professor Hwu,

    I am so excited if it is possible to do it at home, would you please kindly to send me the references and design details.


    email: mohamedahmedkhaireh@gmail.com

    Hello Professor Hwu,

    your project is awesome, I would like to try it.

    Could you send me the the detail instruction about how to make it?

    (schematics, code, optical pickup detail and connections ...)



    Hi Dr. Hwu,

    This is a great project! An incredibly useful analytical tool for studying molecules in chemistry.
    Could you please send me more information; files, schematics, what type of magnets are used, what type of signal connector is used, how do I cheaply build an AFM-probe if there aren't any cheap one to order?

    Look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Kind regards,


    Dear Dr. Hwu,

    Would it be possible please to send me the schematics and codes to try to make one ?

    Many thanks



    Hello Dr. Hwu,

    This is an amazing project! A very useful analytical tool.

    My students will love this project.

    Could you please send me more information ( files, schematics, etc) about this project? Look forward to hearing from you soon.


    Dear Professor Hwu,

    I am so excited if it is possible to do it at home, would you please kindly to send me the references.


    email: eng_kankanan@yahoo.com

    Dear Professor Hwu,

    It Is really a insteresing project, would kindly to send me the references.


    email: kmrleung@gmail.com

    Hello Professor Hwu,

    Like many others here, I am in awe of the quality of this device! I have worked with Asylum Research AFM's and it gets very finicky. I would love to see learn more about the code and what clever money-saving tricks were involved. If you are able to, my email is waldojeffersss@gmail.com

    Thank You!

    Dear Professor Hwu,

    I have attempted AFM construction in the past. Many approaches required at least one prohibitively expensive component, such as a 3D nanopositioner. Other methods, using a divided four quadrant piezoelectric actuator, achieved poor quality results.

    Your approach promises to fill the gap. I was wondering if I can download a full instruction sheet, schematics and parts list from instructables?

    If I upgrade to Instructables premium, will full schematics be available?

    Alternately, I notice other users are requesting direct email of appropriate information. My email is provided below If Email is the preferred method of communication.



    Hello, Professor! What you did is great! You have opened up access to knowledge in the nanoworld Can you send additional files and schemes to the email? Thank you! shib79ru@gmail.com