Siria and Niguès, researchers at UMR CNRS, Paris, propose replacing the usual AFM resonator with a nanotube. Given the very small diameter (few nanometers), one cannot follow the resonator’s oscillations optically as in a standard, silicon resonator AFM. Instead, Siria and Niguès propose and demonstrate monitoring the nanotube with an electron beam, which is steered in phase-lock with the nanotube.
Given that the electron beam is easily and quickly steerable, it occurs to me to envision monitoring an entire array of nanotube resonators with a single beam, vastly increasing the coverage rate.
“AFN” looks very promising.
Reference: Siria and Niguès, “Atomic Force Nanoscope”, arXiv:1705.08448.