• Overview
  • Stage
  • EBOX
  • Software
  • Video Microscope
  • Probe Holder
  • Images
  • Modes
  • Options
  • Specifications
Open Frame Design Any sized sample can be scanned
Includes bottom plate Allows for scanning small samples
Probe Exchange Tool Included Reduce time for probe exchange
Includes top view video microscope Facilitates tip approach and laser alignment
Includes vibrating, non-vibrating, phase, LFM, and advanced F/D Most common scanning modes included for many applications
Flexible Sample holder Can be used with most commercially available probes
Labview software with USB communication Readily adaptable to new operating systems
Pricing From  $32,350.00*
*Plus selected Z Scanner 
Download: SA-AFM Product Datasheet PDF

 

Overview: Stand-Alone Atomic Force Microscope (SA-AFM)

Use the SA-Atomic Force Microscope for scanning life science samples, large samples, routine scanning of technical samples, or for nanotechnology research. The SA-AFM is a complete system and includes everything required for scanning all sizes and shapes of samples. It is easily integrated with all manufacturer's inverted microscopes.

  • Flexible, stand alone design
  • Scans any sample size
  • Adaptable to inverted microscopes
  • Linearized xy piezoelectric scanner
  • Accommodates widest range of standard AFM probes
  • All standard modes, including vibrating, non-vibrating, and phase
  • Direct drive motorized probe approach
  • Intuitive LabVIEW-based software for image capture

Using the industry standard light lever force sensor, all 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 measures force distance curves, and finally, a system window assists in altering system parameters.

SA-AFM Measurements

In addition to measuring surface structure, the SA-AFM is ideal for modes measurements. 

For example these images are of a polymer sample.  The image at left is a topography image, and the image at right is the phase image, measuring the relative hardness of the polymer sample.

SA-AFM topography imageAFM phase image of polymer sample

Surface Texture

SA AFM Graphics 1pmPolished Surface - 30 x 30 x 5 µm Surface texture on polished and machined surfaces is readily measured with the SA-AFM.
With the SA's flexible stage design, fixtures for holding almost any sample shape can be created.
Once measured, the AFM images can be analyzed and standard surface texture parameters such as Ra are readily calculated.
 

 

Dimensional

SA AFM graphic 2 pmCalibration reference - 40 x 40 x 1 µm Atomic force microscopes are capable of accurately measuring the dimensions of semiconductor and other micro-fabricated devices. Because the SA-AFM accommodates commercially available AFM probes, specialized probes for metrology measurements can be used.

 

 

 

Visualization

cells SA AFM PM
Cells - 8 x 8 µm

One of the most powerful capabilities of the SA-AFM is the capability to visualize surface structure. Although not easily quantified, the surface texture of this cell structure is readily visualized.

Features that may be readily visualized with the SA-AFM range in size from a few nm to a few µm.

More Details about the SA-AFM

To read more about the SA-AFM, return to the top of the page and click on the various tabs detailing the SA-AFM and its Stage; Ebox; Software; Video Microscope; Probe Holder; Modes; Options; Specifications; and Images.

SA-AFM Stage

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.

Light Lever Force Sensor
An industry standard light lever force sensor is utilized in the SA-AFM. The probe holder accommodates the widest range of commercially available AFM probes. The light lever force sensor can make measurements in standard modes, including vibrating, nonvibrating, lateral force, and phase mode.

Video Microscope
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.

Probe holder
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 probe exchange tool. Additionally, the probe holder’s spring clip can be used to supply voltages to the AFM probe for techniques such as conductive AFM.

SA-AFM Stage

SA AFM Stage


Large objects that will not fit in a traditional stage may be imaged with the SA-AFM. In this example, the monitor of a commercial AFM is being imaged.

SA-AFM EBOX

Electronics in the SA-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.

Phase and Amplitude Detector Circuit
Phase and amplitude in the Ebox are measured with highly stable phase and amplitude chips. The system can be configured to feed back on either phase or amplitude when scanning in vibrating mode.

Signal Accessible
At the rear of the eBox is a 50 pin ribbon cable that gives access to all of the primary electronic signals without having to open the eBox.

Precision analog feedback
Feedback from the light lever force sensor to the Z piezoceramic is made using a precision analog feedback circuit. The position of the probe may be fixed in the vertical direction with a sample-and-hold circuit.

Variable Gain High Voltage Piezo Drivers
An improved signal to noise ratio as well as extremely small scan ranges are possible with the variable gain high voltage piezo drivers.

Ebox

SA-AFM Software

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 SA-AFM to be readily combined with any other instrument using LabVIEW.

Prescan Windows

Pre-scan Window

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.

 

Scan Window

Scan Window

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.

 

Force/Distance Curves

Force/Distance Curves

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™.

 

Scan Window

LabVIEW Window

Industry standard programming environment. Readily customized and modified for specialized applications. Instrumentation already using LabVIEW can be added to the SA-AFM to create new capabilities.

 

 

Image Analysis Software

Included with the SA-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.

IMAGE ANALYSIS SOFTWARE

  • 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

SA-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 SA-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.

TT-AFM Video Optical Microscope shows test structureHere the video optical microscope allows viewing features on a test structure. The AFM cantilever is on the right. Three images show results of areas selected for AFM scanning.

TT-AFM Video Microscope on HOPGThe video optical microscope zooms in to show an HOPG sample surface and the AFM cantilever.

 

TT-AFM laser alignment through video microscope

Laser alignment is greatly facilitated with the video optical microscope. This non-vibrating cantilever is 450 µ long. The red spot is from the laser reflecting off the cantilever.

 

 

SA-AFM Probe Holder / Exchange

Probe Holder/ExchangeThe SA-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 SA-AFM.

AFM Workshop Image Gallery

DNA; 1 µm x 1 µm AFM image DNA; 1 µm x 1 µm AFM image DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm AFM image DNA; 1.5 µm x 1.5 µm AFM image DNA 2 µm x 2 µm, on multiple mica layers DNA 2 µm x 2 µm, on multiple mica layers
Marks made with AFM Lithography 20 um x 20 µm Marks made with AFM Lithography 20 um x 20 µm Nanolithography, 25 µm x 25 µm image Nanolithography, 25 µm x 25 µm image 1 nm and 3 nm particles test sample. 500 nm x 500 nm 1 nm and 3 nm particles test sample. 500 nm x 500 nm 1 nm and 3 nm particles test sample 100 nm x 100 nm 1 nm and 3 nm particles test sample 100 nm x 100 nm
 HOPG, 4 µm x 4 µm HOPG, 4 µm x 4 µm Ruled Grating Irregularities, 3-D image Ruled Grating Irregularities, 3-D image Ruled Grating Irregularities, ruled diffraction grating Ruled Grating Irregularities, ruled diffraction grating Multiphase Polymer Film, 3D, phase signal overlaid Multiphase Polymer Film, 3D, phase signal overlaid
Defects on 0.3 nm Si Terraces, 4 µm x4 µm Defects on 0.3 nm Si Terraces, 4 µm x4 µm 3 µm x 3 µm image of 173 nm latex spheres 3 µm x 3 µm image of 173 nm latex spheres Latex spheres; 3 µm x 3 µm; 173 nm spheres Latex spheres; 3 µm x 3 µm; 173 nm spheres Aluminum foil, 3D image; 50 µm x 50 µm Aluminum foil, 3D image; 50 µm x 50 µm
SiC Terraces, 6 µm x 6 µm AFM image SiC Terraces, 6 µm x 6 µm AFM image Aluminum foil, dull side, 3-D image; 50 µm x 50 µm. Aluminum foil, dull side, 3-D image; 50 µm x 50 µm. Self-assembled lipid nanotubes; 20 µm x 20 µm. Self-assembled lipid nanotubes; 20 µm x 20 µm. Self-assembled lipid nanotubes, 5 µm x 5 µm Self-assembled lipid nanotubes, 5 µm x 5 µm
Red blood cells, 30 µm x 30 µm 2D red color scale Red blood cells, 30 µm x 30 µm 2D red color scale Red blood cells 3-D AFM image Red blood cells 3-D AFM image Polymer used in glue, 2D light shaded view Polymer used in glue, 2D light shaded view MFM image of magnetic disk; 40 µm x 40 µm MFM image of magnetic disk; 40 µm x 40 µm
Polymer used in glue 10 µm x 10 µm 3D color scale Polymer used in glue 10 µm x 10 µm 3D color scale 20 µm X 20 µm AFM image of SHS 100 nm test pattern 20 µm X 20 µm AFM image of SHS 100 nm test pattern Inverted Optical microscope image of Caco-2 cells Inverted Optical microscope image of Caco-2 cells AFM scan of Caco-2 cells; 48 µm x 48 µm. AFM scan of Caco-2 cells; 48 µm x 48 µm.
Inverted optical Image of neutraphil a1 cells Inverted optical Image of neutraphil a1 cells Neutrophil & erythrocyte cells; 50 µm light shaded Neutrophil & erythrocyte cells; 50 µm light shaded Caco-2 cells. Left: Epiflourescence. Right: AFM Caco-2 cells. Left: Epiflourescence. Right: AFM Tip checker sample, 2-D color scale Tip checker sample, 2-D color scale
Tip checker sample, 3-D color scale view. Tip checker sample, 3-D color scale view. Silicon test pattern 40 µm x 40 µm grey scale image Silicon test pattern 40 µm x 40 µm grey scale image Holes in polymer film, 10 µm x 10 µm AFM Image Holes in polymer film, 10 µm x 10 µm AFM Image Silicon test pattern, 7 µm x 7 µm zoomed in image Silicon test pattern, 7 µm x 7 µm zoomed in image
Patterns on ferroelectric material 50 µm x 50 µm Patterns on ferroelectric material 50 µm x 50 µm Multiphase polymer height image Multiphase polymer height image Multiphase polymer 10 µm x 10 µm, phase image. Multiphase polymer 10 µm x 10 µm, phase image. Light shaded image of cell, 7 µm x 7 µm AFM Image Light shaded image of cell, 7 µm x 7 µm AFM Image
Vibrating mode showing three species of bacteria Vibrating mode showing three species of bacteria Bacteria, phase mode image Bacteria, phase mode image Amplitude Image of Leishmania 25 µm x 25 µm Amplitude Image of Leishmania 25 µm x 25 µm Scratch mark in metal 10 µm x 10 µm color scale Scratch mark in metal 10 µm x 10 µm color scale
Bacteria spore mutants 30 µm x 30 µm AFM 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 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 Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), 2 µm x 2 µm color scale image Tobacco Mosaic Virus 1.2 µm x 1.2 µm color scale Tobacco Mosaic Virus 1.2 µm x 1.2 µm color scale
Conductive AFM scan, standard reference sample Conductive AFM scan, standard reference sample Atomic terraces on metal surface, 5 µm x 5 µm Atomic terraces on metal surface, 5 µm x 5 µm 0.3 nm terraces on Si, 5 µm x 5 µm color scale image 0.3 nm terraces on Si, 5 µm x 5 µm color scale image 0.3 nm terraces on Si 10 µm x 10 µm error signal image. 0.3 nm terraces on Si 10 µm x 10 µm error signal image.
Gold nanoparticles 2D color scale 14 nm diameter Gold nanoparticles 2D color scale 14 nm diameter Gold nanoparticles 3D color scale 14 nm diameter Gold nanoparticles 3D color scale 14 nm diameter Phase mode of PMMA 300 nm x 300 nm Phase mode of PMMA 300 nm x 300 nm DVD: 6 µm x 6 µm AFM image DVD: 6 µm x 6 µm AFM image
Small scan of microterraces on previous image Small scan of microterraces on previous image STEPP: smaller scale zoom to view microterraces STEPP: smaller scale zoom to view microterraces Epithelial Cell 35 µm x 35 µm, 3D AFM image Epithelial Cell 35 µm x 35 µm, 3D AFM image Epithelial cell in liquid, 32 µm x 32 µm AFM image Epithelial cell in liquid, 32 µm x 32 µm AFM image
STEPP: 16 µm x 16 µm, showing microterraces STEPP: 16 µm x 16 µm, showing microterraces Cardiomyocytes; inverted optical miroscope image Cardiomyocytes; inverted optical miroscope image Cardiomyocytes; LS-AFM inverted optical microscope Cardiomyocytes; LS-AFM inverted optical microscope Polystyrene Nanoparticles: Binodal distribution Polystyrene Nanoparticles: Binodal distribution
BOPP polymer film; 2 µm x 2 µm. BOPP polymer film; 2 µm x 2 µm. E. coli cell, displaying fimbriae & polar flagellum E. coli cell, displaying fimbriae & polar flagellum Gold Nanoparticles, 100 nm Gold Nanoparticles, 100 nm Gold Nanoparticles, 20 nm AFM Image Gold Nanoparticles, 20 nm AFM Image
Mutant bacteria spores; 30 µm x 30 µm. Mutant bacteria spores; 30 µm x 30 µm. Donut shaped particles 2.5 µm x 2.5 µm Donut shaped particles 2.5 µm x 2.5 µm Gold nanotriangles Gold nanotriangles Patterned wafer after CMP; 50 µm x 50 µm Patterned wafer after CMP; 50 µm x 50 µm
Polished surface, 3D AFM image; 30 µm x 30 µm Polished surface, 3D AFM image; 30 µm x 30 µm Three component polymer phase image; 5µm x 5µm Three component polymer phase image; 5µm x 5µm Oriented polypropylene showing network of fibers Oriented polypropylene showing network of fibers Thermoplastics and rubbers blend. Phase image. Thermoplastics and rubbers blend. Phase image.
SEBS polymer; phase image 1 µm x 1 µm. SEBS polymer; phase image 1 µm x 1 µm. SEBS polymer, AFM topography, 1 µm x 1 µm. SEBS polymer, AFM topography, 1 µm x 1 µm. SEBS polymer, phase image. 500 nm x 500 nm SEBS polymer, phase image. 500 nm x 500 nm Quantum dots, 3D AFM image, 1.5µm x 1.5 µm Quantum dots, 3D AFM image, 1.5µm x 1.5 µm
Polymer, AFM phase image; 19 µm x 19 µm. Polymer, AFM phase image; 19 µm x 19 µm. Polymer, AFM topography 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 Calibration reference - 40 µm x 40 µm x 1 µm Silicon wafer, AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm. Silicon wafer, AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm.
Silicon wafer, 3D AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm. Silicon wafer, 3D AFM scan; 10 µm x 10 µm. Patterned wafer polished by CMP Patterned wafer polished by CMP Patterned wafer polished by CMP, 10 µm x 10 µm Patterned wafer polished by CMP, 10 µm x 10 µm Nanoparticles, 3 µm x 3 µm Nanoparticles, 3 µm x 3 µm
Graphene sample, AFM image 11 µm x 11 µm Graphene sample, AFM image 11 µm x 11 µm  

SA-AFM Modes

Standard with every SA-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 SA-AFM.

 

Modes


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.

SA-AFM Options

Dunk and Scan

Open vessel probe holder used for scanning samples submerged in a liquid.

Education Samples

Package of six samples that can help students learn how to operate an AFM, and can help new AFM operators learn various AFM Applications

Vibration Cabinet

Reduces unwanted acoustic and structural vibrations.

Conductive AFM

Measures the 2-D conductivity of sample surfaces.

MFM

Measures the surface magnetic field of a sample.

Lithography

Uses an AFM probe to alter the physical or chemical property of a sample surface.

Advanced Force Distance Curves

Measures the deflection of a cantilever as it interacts with a surface. Monitors parameters such as: Adhesion, Stiffness, Compliance, Hardness, and Contaminate Thickness.

SA-AFM Specifications


40 Micron XY Scanner
Type Modified Tripod
XY Linearity < 1%
XY Range > 40µm
XY Resolution < 3 nm closed loop
< 0.3 nm open loop
XY Actuator type Piezo
XY Sensor type Strain Gauge


16 Micron Z Scanner / Probe Holder
Noise < 0.2 nm
Strain Gauge Resolution 1 nm
Tip Angle 10 °
Z Linearity < 5%
Z Linearity-Sensor < 1%


7 Micron Z Scanner / Probe Holder
Noise < 0.12 nm
Strain Gauge Resolution na
Tip Angle 10°
Z Linearity < 5%


Light Lever AFM Force Sensor
Probe Types Industry Standard
Probe Insertion Manual
Probe Exchange Tool
Probe Holding Mechanism Clip
Vibrating Mode Piezo
Electrical Connector to Probe
Laser/Detector Adjustment Range +/- 1.5 mm
Adjustment Resolution 1 µm
Minimum Probe to Objective 25 mm
Laser Type 670 nm Diode, < 3 mW
Laser Focus <25 µm
Detector  
Type 4 Quadrant
Band Width > 500 kHz
Signals Transmitted TL, BL, TR, BR
Gain Low, High Settings
Probe sample angle 10 degrees


Digital Data Input Output
Connection USB
Scanning DAC  
Number 2
Bits 24
Frequency 7 kHz
Control DAC  
Number 2
Bits 14
Frequency 2 kHz
ADC  
Number 8
Bits 16
Frequency 48 kHz
 
Z Motion
Type Direct Drive
Range 25 mm
Drive Type Stepper Motor
Min. Step Size 330 nm
Slew Rate 8 mm/minute
Limit Switch Top, Bottom
Control Software – Rate, Step Size


Analog Electronics
Vibrating Mode  
Freq Range 2 kHz – 800 kHz
Output Voltage 10 Vpp
Demod. Freq TBD
Z Feedback  
Type PID
Bandwidth > 3 kHz
Sample Hold Yes
Voltage 0-150 V
xy Scan  
Voltage 0 – 150 V
Bandwidth > 200 Hz
Pan & Zoom 22 Bits


Software
Environment LabVIEW
Operating System Windows 7
Image Acquisition Real Time Display
(2 of 8 channels)
Control Parameters  
PID Yes
Setpoint Yes
Range Yes
Scan Rate Yes
Image Rotate 0 and 90 °
Laser Align Yes
Vibrating Freq. Display Yes
Force Distance Yes
Tip Approach Yes
Oscilloscope Yes
Image Store Format Industry Standard
Image Pixels 16 x 16 to 1024 x 1024
H.V. Gain Control XY and Z
Real Time Display Line Level, Light Shaded,
Grey Color Palette
Calibration System Window
Probe Center Yes

Video Microscope

 
Minimum Zoom
Maximum Zoom
 
Field of view
2 x 2 mm
300 x 300 µm
 
Resolution
20 µm
1.5 µm
 
Working Distance
114 mm
114 mm
 
Magnification
45X
400X
 
 

Computer

 

  • Industry Standard Computer & Monitor (laptop available upon request)
  • Windows 7
  • AFMWorkshop LabVIEW .exe installed

 

 

Stage

SA AFM graphics 4 pm

Back and side view of the SA-AFM stage without the AFM/video microscope. The feet at the bottom may be removed if the stage is rigidly mounted to a surface.

* Z Noise performance depends greatly on the environment in which the SA-AFM is used. Best Z noise performance is obtained in a vibration free environment.

** Every effort is made to present accurate specifications; however, due to circumstances beyond AFM Workshop’s control, specifications are subject to change.