Movies are a convenient way to explain complex ideas.

Here, animations of three imaging mode of AFM  are downloadable. These anims were done using blender, a free open source 3D modeler.

The first animation is about contact mode and shows a tip that scans two boxes and the influence of the cantilever deflection on the laser position on the photodiode.

The second animation is about tapping mode. It shows the cantilever that oscillates at high frequency and the same boxes influence on the scan.

The third animation is about force spectroscopy, also called force volume. It shows a protein at the very end of the AFM tip, and it's ligand on the scanned surface. This movie showes the influence of protein binding on the force distance curve recorded.