Measurement of Particle and Surface Interactions Using Force Microscopy

Nidal Hilal, Daniel Johnson, W. Richard Bowen, Paul M. Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter describes the use of the atomic force microscope (AFM) to quantitatively measure surface forces arising from the interactions between particles and between particles and surfaces. These forces are of particular interest in the study of colloidal dispersions, where the strength of interactions between particles governs the properties of the dispersion overall. Most traditional methods used to study colloidal dispersions are ensemble techniques, where the interactions of a large number of particles are measured simultaneously. The advantage with the AFM is the ability to make measurements on the single-particle level and to measure forces, and hence interaction energies, with respect to intersurface distances. Colloid probes, interaction forces, and adhesion forces measured by AFM and effect of roughness on measured adhesion and surface forces are discussed in this chapter. The forces that are likely to be encountered when measuring interactions between particles and between particles and surfaces while using the AFM are described with examples of the measurements. This study will serve a useful and practical guide to one undertaking such measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAtomic Force Microscopy in Process Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction to AFM for Improved Processes and Products
Number of pages50
ISBN (Electronic)9780080949574
ISBN (Print)9781856175173
StatePublished - Aug 20 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


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