Force sensing probes for use in scanning probe microscopes and a method for coating such probes with a film comprising a magnetostrictive material are provided. The probes may be magnetized by placing them in a magnetic field which can be oriented in any direction with respect to the probes. The magnetostrictive effect leads to a compression or expansion of the magnetic film, altering its length by the strength of the applied field. This in turn causes the probe, which in a preferred embodiment is in the form of a cantilever, and the applied magnetic film, to deflect or bend. The consequent motion of the probe is much greater than that obtained by direct application of a magnetic force and the effect is not sensitive to the direction of the applied field.