- Video Microscope
- Probe Holder
|High Resolution Video Microscope||Readily locate Features for Scanning|
|Multiple Sample Stage or Vacuum Chuck||Optimized for specific technical samples|
|Closed Loop XY scanner||Great accuracy with rapid zoom to feature|
|Probe Exchange Tool||Reduce time for probe exchange|
|In plane flexure XY scanner||Minimal out of plane motion in images|
|Labview software with USB communication||Readily adaptable to new operating systems|
|Uses Industry standard probes||Probes for specific measurements are readily available.|
|Includes Vibrating, Non-Vibrating modes||Turnkey system|
|Download:||NP-AFM Product Datasheet PDF|
Overview: Nano-Profiler Atomic Force Microscope
The NP-AFM is a complete nanoprofiler tool including everything required for scanning samples: microscope stage, electronic box, control computer, probes, manuals, and a video microscope. Samples as large as 200 mm X 200 mm X 20 mm are profiled by the NP-AFM system, and several stage options are available for many types of samples.
- Nanoprofiler AFM for:
- Technical Samples
- Wafers and Discs
- Three sample stage options to accommodate substrates up to 200mm X 200mm X 20mm
- Integrated high resolution video microscope
- Linearized xy piezoelectric scanner
- Accommodates standard-sized AFM probes
- Includes vibrating and non-vibrating topography modes, plus lateral force and phase mode imaging
- Utilizes a direct drive motorized probe approach
- Captures images with intuitive LabVIEW-based software
Using the industry standard light lever force sensor, all of the standard scanning modes are included with the system. Vibrating mode is used for high resolution and soft samples, while non-vibrating mode can be used for routine scanning. Also included with the system are phase and lateral force modes.
Control software, written in LabVIEW, is simple and intuitive to use. Differing windows walk users through the process: A pre-scan window helps align the AFM probe, a scanning window aids in acquiring images, a force position window is used for measuring F/D curves, and finally, a system window assists in altering system parameters.
Use the Nano-Profiler Atomic Force Microscope for routine scanning of technical samples such as wafers and disks or for nanotechnology research.
NP-Atomic Force Microscope Capabilities
Patterned Wafer Analysis
An Atomic Force Microscope is a very high resolution stylus profiler capable of making several types of measurements on processed wafers. These include:
- Visualization of surface features - Often visualization of surface features can help understand why a process is working or not working. AFM offers extreme contrast for the flat samples often encountered on process wafers and samples.
- Surface roughness/texture measurements - Surface roughness measurements at the nanoscale are only possible with an atomic force microscope. With the appropriate vibration isolation enclosure, it is possible to measure surface textures down to 0.1 nm.
- Step height measurements - As with a stylus profile, an AFM is capable of making step height measurements. Step heights from 0.3 nm to 500 nm are measurable with an AFM. Having a high resolution video microscope is essential for locating the region for scanning.
The following is an example of measurements on a patterned wafer that was polished by CMP. Below is a video microscope image of a the region where the three measurements are made. Also visible in the video microscope image is the cantilever; the red is from the laser used in the AFM force sensor. The regions where measurements are made are identified as 1, 2 and 3 in the video microscope image.
Region 1 - Visualization
Scanning on the square identified as region 1 results in the AFM image illustrated below. At random locations in the image there are pockmarks, not visible in the video microscope image. By zooming in with the AFM, we can see in the right image that the pockmarks have debris at their edges. The width of the pockmarks is about 90 nm and the depth is 10nm.
Region 2 - Surface Texture
Scans of region 2 do not show noticeable surface structure, as was observed in region 1. A 3-D color scale image of region 2 is shown below. The surface roughness (Sa) of this region is 1.69 nm which is 10 times greater than the noise floor of the AFM used for generating this image.
Region 3 - Step Height Measurements
Region 3 is a series of lines that are about 1 µm wide, and are visible in the video optical microscope. An AFM image of these lines is illustrated below. Using a histogram of the AFM image the height of the lines is readily measured to be 43 nm.
More Details about the NP-AFM
To read more about the NP-AFM, return to the top of the page and click on the various tabs detailing the NP-AFM and its Stage; Ebox; Software; Video Microscope; Probe Holder; Modes; Options; Specifications; and Images.
The NP-AFM stage has excellent thermal and mechanical stability required for high resolution AFM profiling. Additionally, its open design facilitates user modification.
High Resolution Z Stage
The direct drive’s Z stage controls motion down to 330 nm, assuring optimal tip approach. Software controls for the Z stage rapidly move the light lever up and down and regulate the automated probe approach.
The NP-AFM has multiple stage options, including a 2x3 inch manual stage with a resolution of 2 µm, and a sample stage for wafers and discs.
Light Lever Force Sensor
An industry standard light lever force sensor is utilized in the NPAFM. Most commercially available AFM probes are accommodated in the probe holder. The light lever force sensor can make measurements in standard modes, including vibrating, non-vibrating, lateral force, and phase mode.
The high resolution video microscope has a zoom tube which allows a field of view between 2 X 2 mm and .3 X .3 mm. The video microscope is essential for aligning the light lever laser, locating features for scanning, and facilitating tip approach.
XY Piezo Scanner
For XY scanning, linearized piezo electric ceramics utilize real-time feedback control to assure accurate measurements. The multiple modified tripod design (MMTD) of the xy scanner provides scans with minimal background bow.
A modular probe holder is used in the light lever force sensor and held in place with a spring clip. Probes can be replaced in less than two minutes with the NP-AFM’s probe exchange tool.
NP-AFM 4012 Stage
The NP-AFM-4012 Stage is designed to accommodate many sample shapes and sizes. The stage comes with a holder for 6 standard AFM magnetic disks. Custom sized sample holders may be readily designed and added to the stage.
NP-AFM 4022 Stage
Wafers and discs up to 8” in diameter are accommodated by the NP-AFM 4022 stage. The vacuum chuck has a unique design that holds the samples firmly while also enabling quick adjustments to accommodate varying diameters of sample sizes. There is a “two-tiered” translation system to locate features for AFM imaging.
Electronics in the NP-AFM are constructed around industry standard USB data acquisition electronics. The critical functions, such as xy scanning, are optimized with a 24-bit digital to analog converter. With the analog z feedback loop, the highest fidelity scanning is possible. Vibrating mode scanning is possible with both phase and amplitude feedback using the high sensitivity phase detection electronics.
24-bit Scan DAC
Scanning waveforms for generating precision motion in the X-Y axis with the piezo scanners are created with 24 bit DACS driven by a 32 bit micro controller. With 24 bit scanning, the highest resolution AFM images may be measured. Feedback control using the xy strain gauges assures accurate tracking of the probe over the surface.
Software for acquiring images is designed with the industry standard LabVIEW™ programming visual interface instrument design environment. There are many standard functions, including setting scanning parameters, probe approach, frequency tuning, and displaying images in real time. LabVIEW™ facilitates rapid development for those users seeking to enhance the software with additional special features. LabVIEW also enables the NP-AFM to be readily combined with any other instrument using LabVIEW.
A pre-scan window includes all of the functions that are required before a scan is started. The functions are presented in a logical sequence on the screen.
Once all of the steps in the pre-scan window are completed, the scan window is used for measuring images. Scan parameter, Z feedback parameters, and image view functions may be changed with dialogs on this screen.
There is a tab for measuring F/D curves in the AFMWorshop software. Data is exported to a .csv file for analysis in standard programs such as Microsoft Excel™.
Industry standard programming environment. Readily customized and modified for specialized applications. Instrumentation already using LabVIEW can be added to the NP-AFM to create new capabilities.
AFM Image Analysis Software
Included with the NP-AFM is the Gwyddion open source SPM image analysis software. This complete image analysis package has all the software functions necessary to process, analyze and display SPM images.
- visualization: false color representation with different types of mapping
- shaded, logarithmic, gradient- and edge-detected, local contrast representation, Canny lines
- OpenGL 3D data display: false color or material representation
- easily editable color maps and OpenGL materials
- basic operations: rotation, flipping, inversion, data arithmetic, crop, resampling
- leveling: plane leveling, profiles leveling, three-point leveling, facet leveling, polynomial background removal, leveling along user-defined lines
- value reading, distance and angle measurement
- profiles: profile extraction, measuring distances in profile graph, profile export
- filtering: mean, median, conservative denoise, Kuwahara, minimum, maximum, checker pattern removal
- general convolution filter with user-defined kernel
- statistical functions: Ra, RMS, projected and surface area, inclination, histograms, 1D and 2D correlation functions, PSDF, 1D and 2D angular distributions, Minkowski functionals, facet orientation analysis
- statistical quantities calculated from area under arbitrary mask
- row/column statistical quantities plots
- ISO roughness parameter evaluation
- grains: threshold marking and un-marking, watershed marking
- grain statistics: overall and distributions of size, height, area, volume, boundary length, bounding dimensions
- integral transforms: 2D FFT, 2D continuous wavelet transform (CWT), 2D discrete wavelet transform (DWT), wavelet anisotropy detection
- fractal dimension analysis
- data correction: spot remove, outlier marking, scar marking, several line correction methods (median, modus)
- removal of data under arbitrary mask using Laplace or fractal interpolation
- automatic xy plane rotation correction
- arbitrary polynomial deformation on xy plane
- 1D and 2D FFT filtering
- fast scan axis drift correction
- mask editing: adding, removing or intersecting with rectangles and ellipses, inversion, extraction, expansion, shrinking
- simple graph function fitting, critical dimension determination
- force-distance curve fitting
- axes scale calibration
- merging and immersion of images
- tip modeling, blind estimation, dilation and erosion
NP-AFM Video Microscope
A video optical microscope in an AFM serves three functions: aligning the laser onto the cantilever in the light lever AFM, locating surface features for scanning, and facilitating probe approach. The NP-AFM includes a high performance video optical microscope along with a 3 mega pixel ccd camera, light source, microscope stand, and Windows software for displaying images.
Laser alignment is greatly facilitated with the video optical microscope. This non-vibrating cantilever is 450 µm long. The red spot is from the laser reflecting off the cantilever.
NP-AFM Probe Holder & AFM Probe Exchange Tool
The NP-AFM utilizes a unique probe holder/exchange mechanism. Probes are held in place with a spring device that mates with a probe exchange tool. This combination makes changing probes fast and easy on the NP-AFM.
AFM Workshop Image Gallery
DNA; 1 µm x 1 µm AFM image
DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm
DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm AFM
Marks made with AFM Lithography; 20 µm x 20 µm
Nanolithography, Changing Probe Force. 25 µm x 25 µm image of lines made in PMMA surface. Each line is 1 µm apart; each has differing probe force.
1 nm and 3 nm particles test sample. 500 nm x 500 nm AFM image
1 nm and 3 nm particles, test sample. 100 nm x 100 nm
Highly Oriented Pyrolitic Graphite (HOPG), 4 µm x 4 µm
Ruled Grating Irregularities, 3-D image, 4 µm x 4 µm
Ruled Grating Irregularities, 4 µm x 4 µm ruled diffraction grating, irregularities at edges of the apex on grating lines.
Multiphase Polymer Film - 3D shape from topography with phase signal overlaid as color
AFM image of defects on 0.3 nm Si Terraces, 4 µm x 4 µm
Latex spheres; 3 µm x 3 µm image of 173 nm latex spheres
Latex spheres; 3 µm x 3 µm; 173 nm latex spheres AFM Image
Aluminum foil, 3D AFM image; 50 µm x 50 µm.
SiC Terraces; 6 µm x 6 µm, AFM image
Aluminum foil, dull side, 3D image; 50 µm x 50 µm.
Self-assembled lipid nanotubes; 20 µm x 20 µm, AFM image.
Self-assembled lipid nanotubes, 5 µm x 5 µm
Red blood cells, 30 µm x 30 µm 2D red color scale
Red blood cells 3D AFM image
Polymer used in common glue, 10 µm x 10 µm images, 2-D light shaded view
MFM image of magnetic disk; 40 µm x 40 µm
Polymer used in common glue 10 µm x 10 µm image, 3-D color scale view
20 µm X 20 µm AFM image of SHS 100 nm test pattern, color view
Inverted Optical microscope image of Caco-2 cells; box indicates area selected for AFM scanning
AFM image of Caco-2 cells; 48 µm x 48 µm. AFM scan of area selected by box in previous inverted optical microscope photo
Inverted optical image of neutraphil a1 cells, inverted optical microscope view, AFM probe is shadow
Neutrophil & erythrocyte cells; 50 µm light shaded
Caco-2 cells. Left: Epiflourescence image of Caco-2 cells treated with quantum dots. Right: 50 µm x 50 µm AFM image of Caco-2 cells
Tip checker sample, 2-D color scale 20 µm x 20 µm image
Tip checker sample, 3-D color scale view; 20 µm x 20 µm.
Silicon test pattern 40 µm x 40 µm grey scale image
Holes in polymer film, 10 µm x 10 µm AFM Image
Silicon test pattern, 7 µm x 7 µm zoomed in image of particle viewed in the upper center of the left image.
Patterns on ferroelectric material 50 µm x 50 µm light shaded image.
Multiphase polymer height image; 10 µm x 10 µm
Multiphase polymer 10 µm x 10 µm, phase image.
Light shaded image of cell, 7 µm x 7 µm AFM Image
Vibrating mode image showing three different species of bacteria
Amplitude Image of Leishmania parasites 25 µm x 25 µm
Scratch mark in a metal surface, 10 µm x 10 µm color scale image
Bacteria spore mutants 30 µm x 30 µm AFM image
Waffle test pattern, 2100 lines per mm, 8 µm x 8 µm color scale image
Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), 2 µm x 2 µm color scale image
Tobacco Mosaic Virus, 1.2 µm x 1.2 µm color scale image of 17 nm diameter single TMV
Conductive AFM scan, standard reference sample, 10 µm x 10 µm conductivity image
Atomic terraces on metal surface, 5 µm x 5 µm AFM image
0.3 nm terraces on Si, 5 µm x 5 µm color scale image
Gold nanoparticles, 2D color scale 2 µm x 2 µm image of 14 nm diameter particles
Gold nanoparticles, 3-D color scale 2 µm x 2 µm image of 14 nm diameter particles
Phase mode image of PMMA 300nm x 300nm AFM image
DVD: 6 µm x 6 µm AFM image
STEPP sample: 3 µm x 3 µm, small scan zoom of microterraces observed on the previous 16 µm x 16 µm image
STEPP scan: 3 µm x 3 µm, smaller scale zoom to view microterraces seen on previous 16 µm x 16 µm scan
Epithelial Cell 35 µm x 35 µm, 3D AFM image
Epithelial cell in liquid, 32 µm x 32 µm AFM image
STEPP: 16 µm x 16 µm, showing microterraces on terrace, see features in smaller scans
Cardiomyocytes; inverted optical miroscope image showing location of AFM probe from below
Cardiomyocytes from the LS-AFM inverted optical microsope
Polystyrene Nanoparticles: Binodal distribution of nanoparticles, 20 nm and 100 nm
BOPP Polymer; 2 µm x 2 µm biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film.
Single E. coli bacterial cell, displaying fimbriae & polar flagellum
Gold Nanoparticles, 100 nm
Gold Nanoparticles, 20 nm AFM Image
Donut shaped nanoparticles, 2.5 µm x 2.5 µm.
Structures on patterned wafer after CMP; 50 µm x 50 µm
Polished surface, 3D AFM image; 30 µm x 30 µm
Three component polymer, AFM phase image; 5µm x 5µm
Oriented polypropylene showing network of fibers; 10 µm x 10 µm.
Thermoplastics and rubbers blend. AFM phase image shows differentiation of components in sample; 5 µm x 5 µm.
SEBS polymer (styrene/ethylene/butylene polymer); AFM phase image, 1 µm x 1 µm.
SEBS polymer (styrene/ethylene/butylene polymer); AFM topography image, 1 µm x 1 µm.
SEBS polymer, phase image. 500 nm x 500 nm, smallest domains ~10 nm easily visible
Quantum dots, 3D AFM image, 1.5µm x 1.5 µm
Polymer, AFM phase image; 19 µm x 19 µm.
Polymer, AFM topography image; 19 µm x 19 µm.
Calibration reference - 40 µm x 40 µm x 1 µm
Silicon wafer, AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm.
Silicon wafer, 3D AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm.
Patterned wafer polished by CMP 10 µm x 10 µm on left; square shows area selected for AFM scanning at .5 µm x .5 µm. AFM scan reveals pockmarks on surface.
Patterned wafer polished by CMP, 3-D color scale. Analysis revealed surface roughness (Sa) of 1.69 nm
Nanoparticles, 3D projection 3 µm x 3 µm image w/nanoparticles from 4 nm to 12 nm in diameter
Graphene sample, AFM image 11 µm x 11 µm
MEMS Multiple Level Gear, Courtesy TX Tech, Sandia Ntl. Labs
MEMS High Performance Comb-Drive Actuator. Courtesy TX Tech, Sandia Ntl. Labs
Standard with every NP-AFM are nonvibrating (NV) mode and vibrating (V) modes for creating topography scans. Additional modes included with the product are lateral force imaging and phase mode imaging. Any scanning mode that can be implemented with a light lever AFM is possible with the NP-AFM.
With the window above the resonance frequency of a cantilever is readily measured. Additionally, the phase characteristics of the probe-sample interaction may be captured.
In addition to excelling in surface structure measurement, the NP-AFM is ideal for modes measurements. For example, the images presented here are of a polymer sample. The left image is the topography image and the image at the right is the phase image, which measures the relative hardness of the polymer sample. Standard modes include lateral force, force-distance, and phase. Optional modes include conductive AFM.
|20x20 micron image of a polymer sample. At the left is a topography image and at the right is a phase mode image|
|10 X 10 micron image of silicon sample with gold pattern. At the left is a topography image at the right is a conductive AFM image. Two of the "fingers" on the test pattern are grounded and show contrast in the conductive AFM image|
Open vessel probe holder used for scanning samples submerged in a liquid.
Package of six samples that can help students learn how to operate an AFM, and can help new AFM operators learn various AFM Applications
Measures the 2-D conductivity of sample surfaces.
Measures the surface magnetic field of a sample.
Uses an AFM probe to alter the physical or chemical property of a sample surface.
Measures the deflection of a cantilever as it interacts with a surface. Monitors parameters such as: Adhesion, Stiffness, Compliance, Hardness, and Contaminate Thickness.
Field of view
2 x 2 mm
300 x 300 µm
*Z Noise performance depends greatly on the environment in which the NP-AFM operates. Best Z noise performance is obtained in a vibration free environment. Contact AFMWorkshop for more information about our vibration isolation products and recommendations.
** Every effort is made to present accurate specifications, however, due to circumstances beyond AFMWorkshop’s control, specifications are subject to change.