AFM Workshop

FAQs about Atomic Force Microscopes from AFMWorkshop


Why are the prices of AFMWorkshop products considerably lower than other Atomic Force Microscopes?

AFMWorkshop's mission is to expand the number of labs with access to nanoscale imaging tools by developing and marketing affordable AFM's. We achieved our goal of creating an affordable product line by following these guiding principles:

  1. Shared components: All of our AFMs use the same control electronics, control software, piezoelectric ceramics. With this approach, we reduced inventory and development costs.
  2. Software: AFMWorkshop image files are compatible with Gwyddion open source AFM image processing software. This full featured image display and analysis software is available free of charge.
  3. Function over form: Our primary goal is to offer high performance products for nanoscale measurements. We see no reason why an AFM should look like a coffee maker. Our products do not include the extra costs of fancy looking covers.
  4. Clever Designs: Our designs are practical and robust. For example, the piezoelectric scanners in our AFMs use a modified tripod flexure design. This unique design is not expensive to manufacture, and repairs cost a fraction of the cost of alternative scanner designs.
Do the cost savings result in design compromises on AFMWorkshop Atomic force Microscopes?

The simple answer to this question is, no. For example, standard features of our AFMs include: closed loop scanners, a high resolution video microscope, and scanning modes such as vibrating, non-vibrating, phase and LFM. Our ADC/DAC card, which collects data displayed on the computer monitor, is 16 bits. By adding 16 stages of gain in our Z control circuits, we are able to provide a large dynamic range as well as high sensitivity. In fact, we are able to achieve a Z resolution of nearly 0.1 nm with a 17 micron Z ranged scanner.

Can the TT-AFM really measure nano-scale surface features?

The TT AFM can measure anything that has been measured on other commercially available microscopes. For the highest resolution images, it is crucial to optimize scanning conditions, ensure adequate vibration isolation, and properly prepare samples. Below are two images which demonstrate the Z and X-Y resolution of the TT AFM.

NanoScale Surface picture by Atomic Force Microscope NanoScale Surface Analysis by Atomic Force Microscope
This 500X500 nm image is of 1 nm and 3 nm nanoparticles, demonstrating the XY resolution of the TT AFM. At the center of the image is a 100 nm particle. This 2 X 2 µ image of Si terraces demonstrates the Z resolution of the TT AFM. Each color in this image represents a 0.3 nm atomic step.

No matter the conditions of the scanning environment or of the sample, if you are not properly trained on the instrument operation, you will not be successful in measuring high resolution images. That's why the AFMWorkshop routinely offers workshops for customers to learn how to assemble, operate and troubleshoot with their microscopes.

Does the AFMWorkshop have Customer Service?

Yes, AFMWorkshop has a top-rate customer service program. If you have a problem with your instrument, we have a process of troubleshooting with you. Our first request reviews the operational training of the person requesting service. It is important for the caller and/or the company customer service technician to work directly with the instrument user who received training on the instrument's operation. Next, we try to solve the problem over the phone. If this phase is not successful, we schedule a session to operate your instrument remotely via the internet. If this session is not successful, we will request that you ship all, or part of, the atomic force microscope back to the factory for repair. Repairs typically take one week or less. If we are unable to return the instrument after one week of repair time, we will notify you of the delayed timeline prior to your shipping the instrument to the factory.

What is your warranty?

Customers utilizing their AFM within North America receive a full two year return to factory warranty on AFMWorkshop Atomic Force Microscopes.  Customers utilizing their AFM outside of North America receive a year return to factory warranty. This warranty covers the entire instrument including the computer. Please read our FAQ on customer service.

Do you provide software upgrades?

Yes. Additionally, because our software uses LabVIEW in a Microsoft Windows environment, our software is easily ported to new Windows versions at minimal expense.

Do you have a publications list?

Yes, AFMWorkshop customers routinely publish papers in a wide range of scientific journals.

See our customer publication list here.

What kind of probes are used in your Atomic Force Microscopes?

Our AFMs use industry standard probes. We recommend the probes from Applied Nanostructures, however, probes from other manufacturers are compatible and work with AFMWorkshop instruments.

Can you run my samples?

AFMWorkshop will not sell an AFM unless we are convinced we can do the application that the AFM is being purchased for. For most applications we have example images and publications that demonstrate the capability of our AFM's. If we do not have an example of images for a new application, we are more than wiling to run demonstration scans.

We have a money back guarantee... if our AFMs cannot do your application, we will provide a full refund*.

Will my warranty be voided if I make modifications to the instrument?

AFMWorkshop Atomic Force Microscopes have an open architecture and we welcome instrument innovators to purchase our products. If you modify our instrument and inadvertently damage a part, we will work with you to help fix the problem. However, if the instrument is routinely broken we will need to receive compensation for repairs.

Do you have references for your AFM's?

Yes, we have many customers who will share their experience with our products if you require a reference. Some of our customer's logos are also included on our web site for your review.

Does AFM offer Discounts?

YES, We offer three types of discounts:

  1. Academic Discounts

We support researchers and educators in universities with a discount on their initial purchase. This discount includes AFM systems, accessories and options. It does not include shipping and installation and training packages.

  1. Startup Discounts

Professors that are starting their laboratories are supported by AFMWorkshop with a discount. This discount includes AFM systems, accessories and options. It does not include shipping and installation and training packages.

  1. Demonstration System Discounts

Occasionally AFMWorkshop is able to offer demonstration systems at substantial discounts. Our demo systems are not AFMs returned from customers because they are faulty, but AFMs used in our facility for product development and demonstrations. Our demonstration systems are sold on a first come first served basis.


Search for mobile