A simple method for spreading polystyrene-latex spheres onto mica substrates to form highly crystalline layers is described. These layers can be used as a simple calibration standard for the atomic force microscope in the nanometer to micron size range. In particular, they provide simultaneous x, y, and z calibration. The concentration of particles of about 0.01% is found to be good for forming ordered structures. Two-dimensional polycrystalline structures of polytstyrene spheres with different packing orders (cubic and hexagonal close-pack) and some defects (vacancies, dislocations, and grain boundaries) were observed.
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