This page contains currently a very small selection of the AFM images I have collected over the years. Please check back later to see more.

  • Nanospheres monolayer
    Nanospheres monolayer

    This image Shows polystyrene nanospheres (diameter 174 nm), packed into a well-organised monolayer

  • Blood Smear
    Blood Smear

    This AFM height image shows a human blood smear with some erythrocytes, surrounding a neutrophil (white blood cell).

  • BOPP

    Fibrous polymer film (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene). 

  • DVD

    AFM image of DVD data bits.

  • Mixed Nanoparticles
    Mixed Nanoparticles

    This AFM image shows a sample with a two populations of polystyrene nanoparticles, one large and one small.

  • Different species
    Different species

    This AFM image shows different species of bacteria.

  • HOPG

    HOPG (Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite) some single-atomic steps are visible

  • Silicon chip
    Silicon chip

    AFM image of a silicon chip

  • Quantum Dots
    Quantum Dots

    AFM image showing quantum dots, just 2 nm in diameter!

  • TMV

    AFM image of tobacco Mosaic Virus

  • Silica Nanoparticles
    Silica Nanoparticles

    AFM image of 80 nm silica Nanoparticles

All images copyright 2010-2016, Peter Eaton, and may not be re-used without my permission

In our lab, we have a TT-AFM, and an LS-AFM from AFM Workshop. We had one of the very first examples of this microscope, so although it's fairly new, the instrument, and the software has developed a lot during that time. On this page, I have collected together various materials that can help use the TT-AFM instrument. Note that although this material is all based on the TT-AFM, a lot of it probably applies to the other instruments from AFM Workshop, since they are all based on the same electronics. Lots of more general information about AFM operation can be found around this website (links on the left), and of course in my book.


 Some images from the TT-AFM obtained in our lab showing gold nanospheres, gold nanotriangles (phase image), tobacco mosaic virus, and Quantum Dots (2 nm).

 UPDATE: The latest version of the AFM Workshop software 2.03, seems to be far superior to 1.58, which I was using previously. I reccommend strongly that everyone check this version out.

BIOAFM banner-letters xx sm 

 The Portuguese BIO-AFM Network is a forthcoming Research Infrastructure, or RI.


  • If approved, the RI status means the network will be partially funded by FCT, and will provide open access to all who wish to become users of the RI.
  • The RI will provide training, access to instrumental techniques, advice and data analysis for all users.
  • This RI focusses on biological atomic force microscopy (BIO-AFM). However, use of AFM in other areas is also supported.
  • The network is made up of three labs, which are based in Porto, Lisbon, and Caparica, Portugal. Information on the facilities on the three labs can be found below,and in the linked pages, describing each lab.
  • At this time, the RI is in the application stage, and if approved will begin operations in January 2014. However, most of the components of the RI are already in operation, so if you want to be a users, consult the access requirements here.
  • Members of the management and implementation teams are experts in many different areas of biological AFM, so if you need advice, including on whether BIO-AFM can help you, just ask! You can contact us via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or look at the contact details on the individual pages below.


The three labs are in:

Porto   Porto Lab Based in DQB, Requimte Porto. This lab currently houses a TT-AFM from AFMWorkshop, with high resolution facilities. specialising in NanoBio science, bacteria and parasites.
Lisbon   alt Based in IMM, associated to FMUL. This lab has a Nanowizard 2 from JPK, with advanced facilities for use of live cells. Specialised in force spectroscopy and biomedical applications.
Caparica   caparica Based in the chemistry department, FCT-UNL. This lab houses a TT-AFM from AFMWorkshop with an experimental liquid cell for environmental work.


Finalised regulations and conditions for access to the instruments are coming soon. In the meantime, you may consult the Draft Document. Another document contains Prices.



  • The Porto lab is currently installing a new life sciences AFM, combining optical, fluorescence and AFM measurements in one instrument.
  • The Requimte AFM course for 2014 is now full, and will teach 16 students from Europe, Asia and the USA during Easter week.
  • The lisbon lab at FCT-UNL has improved the microscope with a new environmental chamber. Upgrades are ongoing.


group shot 2a l"I really enjoyed my time on the course. In a simple and practical manner, I learned how to obtain results from AFM. I entered the course without ever being on the same lab with an AFM and left being able to carry out an experiment and analysing my own results."


Last week, we held our AFM workshop for 2013, here in Porto. We had students from Portugal, Spain, Germany, Romania, Denmark and Norway.
The students enjoyed the course a lot, and we got lots of very positive feedback.

red blood cells

"I have to tell you that I'm enjoying a lot this mini-course. The language used to explain the concepts is very clear and there is a good atmosphere between all participants."
This is the second time we've run the course, and the first time in Porto. Last time we ran it in Lisbon. We brought one AFM up from our lab in Lisbon, so the students had access to two instruments.
tobbacco mosaic virusOn the first day, after meeting the students, we started with a short introduction to AFM, followed by a talk about AFM instrumentation, focussing on important concepts, and the differences between different instruments the students might encounter. Some of the students were already using AFM, and some had never used it. In fact, a couple of the students were already regular AFM users, but still found the course useful: 
"I found it useful even for people (like me) having a certain experience in the field. For instance, things that work well in/with AFM can be easily found in a lot of papers, but things that are hard or tricky to set up are seldom explicitly written in articles. The workshop addressed specifically this type of issues. Also, to my opinion, attending the workshop was not expensive at all. "


The BIO-AFM Network is expected to be functioning in January 2014, if approved by the FCT.


In the meantime, the regulations provided here indicate that the network is already functioning on a voluntary basis, and these regulations are non-binding to the members of the network. These regulations are subject to change at any time.


Once the network is approved, these regulations will change, and the definitive version will be made available in PDF format.


1. The facilities offered are access to AFM instruments, training in AFM, especially biological applications, and support in the use of the instruments, sample preparation, and data analysis.
2. These facilities are open to all researchers, students, and industrial partners, subject to the conditions listed here.
3. Use of instruments by anyone other than BIO-AFM team members is dependent on the following points:
3.1. Probes and other consumables are provided by users, and are not part of the offer. Optionally, BIO-AFM may provide probes to users at cost price. Substrates, either muscovite mica or glass slides may also be available.
3.2. Users may only use the instruments themselves once they have proved that they have suitable training, and are competent in the use of the specific facility required.
3.3. BIO-AFM team members will provide training if necessary.
3.4. The facilities are only available during normal working hours, and there must to be other people present in the labs during working time, for security reasons.
3.5. The facilities can be booked ahead of time. At least one week is typically required. In the case of a dispute over the time allotted, the BIO-AFM management member responsible for the facility will have final say.
3.6. Cancellation of a booking must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Any fees associated to the booking will be charged if there is less notice.
4. BIO-AFM team members may also carry out experiments for facility users. This service will be charged for as specified in the regulations of the individual host institute. If prices are not otherwise specified, the BIO-AFM price list (see point 5 of this document) will be applied. This service will typically include scanning, and providing data to the user. Data analysis, and help with sample preparation may be included, at the discretion of the BIO-AFM team member.
5. Prices are revised annually for 2013-2014, they are described in: 6. There are three user categories.
* Scientific collaborators do not pay for use of the facilities.
* Internal users pay only consumables.
* External users pay for use by the hour, and for consumables, if required.
Registration of users as any one of the categories is at the discretion of the Lab manager, and the RI management team.
7. Access. Enquiries about access may be made either via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or to the responsible member of the management team for an individual facility. Currently they are: Porto- Dr. Peter Eaton; Lisbon- Dr. Nuno Santos, Caparica- Dr. Jorge Caldeira.