A Conceptual Atomic Force Microscope using LEGO for Nanoscience Education

Tsung-Han Hsieh, Yu-Chi Tsai, Chih-Jan Kao, Yin-Min Chang, Yen-Wen Lu


A lack of effective educational materials is limited general public awareness of, and interest in, nanoscience. This paper presents a conceptual atomic force microscope (AFM) model built by using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS series. AFMs are perhaps one of the most fundamental and widely-used instruments in nanoscience and nanotechnology, thus the introduction of this LEGO® AFM should be beneficial to nanoscience education. Programmed in LabVIEW, this LEGO® model has the ability to scan the samples and construct a three-dimensional (3D) surface graphs of the sample, based on the mechanism used for AFM. With this LEGO® AFM, the students can directly access nanoscience concepts through hands-on experience constructing an AFM model. This interaction will lead to a better understanding of nanoscience principles, and motivate learners to further explore both the theoretical and experimental aspects of the domain.


Atomic force microscopy; scanning probe microscopy; LEGO® MINDSTORMS; mechatronics; robotics; LabVIEW

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