National Physical Laboratory

Metrological Atomic Force Microscope

Metrological AFM
The NPL Metrological Atomic Force
Microscope (MAFM)
Pitch Calibration Standard
Array of pillars forming
part of a lateral (x-y)
1 micrometre pitch
calibration standard
Step Height Standard
5 micrometre step
height standard

Measurement service for Atomic Force Microscopy.


NPL provides a measurement service for traceable calibration of artefacts that can be used to calibrate atomic force microscopes. Both pitch and height standards can be calibrated. This measurement service is based on a Metrological Atomic Force Microscope (MAFM), developed at NPL.

Products & Services

Key features of the MAFM are:

  • laser interferometers to provide traceable measurement of displacement in all three axes
  • a measurement range in x and y of 100 micrometres

Typical uncertainties

For calibration of pitches in the range 300 nm to 10 µm are:

  • for a 300 nm pitch: ± 0.2 nm
  • for a 10 µm pitch: ± 2 nm

For step height standards for calibration of z axis scale, nominal step heights 10 nm to 2.5 µm, typical uncertainties:

  • for a 10 nm step: ± 0.4 nm
  • for a 2.5 µm step: ± 15 nm


  • Haycocks J and Jackson K (2005) Traceable calibration of transfer standards for scanning probe microscopy, Prec. Eng., 29 168-175J
  • Haycocks J, Jackson K (2005) Traceable calibration of transfer standards for scanning probe microscopy Precision Engineering, 29 168-175
  • Leach, R K, Haycocks, J, Jackson, K, Lewis, A, Oldfield, S, Yacoot, Advances in traceable nanometrology at the National Physical Laboratory, Nanotechnology, 2001, 12, R1-R6
  • Yacoot A & Koenders L (2008) Aspects of scanning force microscope cantilevers and tips and their effects on dimensional measurement, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 41 (2008) 103001
  • Bakucz P, Yacoot A, Dzombia T, Koenders L and Krüger-Sehm R (2008) Neural network approximation of tip-abrasion effects in AFM-imaging, Meas. Sci. Technol., 19 (2008) 065101


Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 8631

Last Updated: 25 Sep 2017
Created: 6 Sep 2007


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