Peter Grutter describes how atomic force microscopy has contributed to advances in understanding structure-function relations at the atomic scale.

Peter Grütter graduated with his PhD at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1989, before taking postdoc positions at the IBM Almaden Research Center and the IBM Zurich Research Laboratories. Previous roles include: Director of the le Regroupement québécois sur les matériaux de pointe; Director of the NSERC Nano Innovation Platform; Fellow and Director, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Nanoelectronics Program (CIFAR), (2003-2013); and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, Faculty of Science, (2009-2013); as a well as member of the board on the journal Nanotechnology (2005-2011). He currently holds the chair for the Department of Physics at McGill University, and has been the James McGill Professor since 2006. His research group focuses on building and operating instruments – in particular atomic force microscopes - at the absolute limits given by nature to tackle fundamental questions in science.

A member on the Board of Directors for le Regroupement québécois sur les matériaux de pointe (RQMP), he has been awarded the William Dawson Scholar (2000), the NSERC Staecie Prize (2001), the CIFAR Young Explorer Prize – ‘Top 20 under 40’ (2002), the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Physics, Royal Society of Canada (2005), the Carrie Derick Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision and Teaching (2005) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

To find out more about the latest in atomic force and related techniques visit the Nanotechnology Focus on Scanning Probe Microscopy.

Further reading

Frequency modulation detection using high-Q cantilevers for enhanced force microscope sensitivity Albrecht T R, Grütter P, Horne D and Rugar D 1991 Journal of Applied Physics 69 668

Mechanical parametric amplification and thermomechanical noise squeezing Rugar D and Grütter P 1991 Physical Review Letters 67 699

Observation of magnetic forces by the atomic force microscope S&a acute;enz J J, García N, Grütter P, Meyer E, Heinzelmann H, Wiesendanger R, Rosenthaler L, Hidber H R and Güntherodt H-J 1987 Journal of Applied Physics 62 4293

Cantilever-based sensing: The origin of surface stress and optimization strategies Godin M, Tabard-Cossa V, Miyahara Y, Monga T, Williams P J, Beaulieu L Y, Lennox R B, Gr¨utter P. 2010 Nanotechnology 21 075501

One-to-one spatially matched experiment and atomistic simulations of nanometre-scale indentation Oliver D J, Paul W, El Ouali M, Hagedorn T, Miyahara Y, Qi Y, Gr¨tter P H 2014 Nanotechnology 25 025701

The noise of coated cantilevers Labuda A, Bates J R and Gr¨tter P H 2012 Nanotechnology 23 025503