Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a widely used experimental technique for characterizing and fabricating nanostructures on surfaces. In particular, due to its ability to spatially map variations in materials properties with nanometer spatial resolution, SPM is particularly well suited to probe the subcomponents and interfaces of hybrid nanomaterials, i.e., materials that are made up of distinct nanometer scale components with distinguishable properties. In addition, the interaction of the SPM tip with materials can be intentionally tuned such that local surface modification is achieved. In this manner, hybrid nanostructures can also be fabricated on solid substrates using SPM. This report reviews recent developments in the characterization and fabrication of hybrid nanomaterials with SPM. Specific attention is given to nanomaterials that consist of both organic and inorganic components including individual biomolecules mounted on inorganic substrates. SPM techniques that are particularly well suited for characterizing the mechanical and electrical properties of such hybrid systems in atmospheric pressure environments are highlighted, and specific illustrative examples are provided. This review concludes with a brief discussion of the remaining challenges and promising future prospects for this field.
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