The most popular AFM imaging mode, the backbone of specialized techniques

The development of TappingMode™ enabled researchers to image samples too fragile to withstand the lateral forces of Contact Mode and use scan speeds much higher than could be obtained in non-contact mode.

TappingMode AFM is a Bruker-patented technique that maps topography by lightly tapping the surface with an oscillating probe tip. The cantilever’s oscillation amplitude changes with sample surface topography, and the topography image is obtained by monitoring these changes and closing the z feedback loop to minimize them.

This popular AFM mode forms the basis for many advanced modes, such as Electric Force Microscopy (EFM) and Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM).


Rhodobacter sphaeroides PufX- mutant photosynthetic membrane imaged in fluid with TappingModeTM. Image courtesy of Peter Adams and Neil Hunter, University of Sheffield, UK. See: Adams et al. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1807, 1044 (2011).