Atomic Force Microscopes

Compact, easy to use and portable AFMs for research and education.

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AFM Probes

SEM Image of an AFM probe cantilver

Nanoscience Instruments provides many different types of AFM probes for a wide variety of needs, for example: Contact Mode, Dynamic Mode, fluid imaging, conductive, wear resistant, magnetic, high resolution / super sharp, high aspect, critical dimension, hemispherical/large radius, tipless probes, and many more.

We offer probes from a variety of manufacturers, so you can choose the right probe for your application and your budget.

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AFM Tips

Image of an Atomic Force Microscope tip from Nanoscience Instruments
AFM tip schematic representing approximate values for pyramidal-shaped AFM tips available from Nanoscience Instruments.

Our AFM tips are micromachined, monolithic silicon, exhibiting excellent uniformity and a sharp tip radius.

Our AppNano and Vistaprobes AFM tips have a pyramidal geometry, as shown in the photo and schematic to the right. Our Aspire probes and specialty probes by Team Nanotec typically have a conical shape.

Our standard, uncoated tips have a consistent radius of less than 10 nm. The AppNano brand has the added benefit of a high aspect ratio (typically 3:1) at the last 200 nm of the tip. And the Super Sharp models feature even smaller tip radii of 2 nm and higher aspect ratios (better than 3.5:1).

If you wish to obtain detailed information about your tip’s shape and morphology, we recommend the SPIP software Tip Characterization module.

Schematic of an Atomic Force Microscope tip


AFM Cantilevers and Chips

Schematic of an Atomic Force Microscope Cantilever and Chip
AFM cantilever and chip schematics representing approximate values for most of the standard silicon AFM probes available from Nanoscience Instruments.

Our AFM chips fit most commercial Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs) as they are industry-standard size. They are compatible with AFMs from Nanosurf, DI/Veeco, Agilent/Molecular Imaging, Asylum Research, JEOL, and others.

Made of micromachined, monolithic Si, they exhibit excellent uniformity and provide high-quality imaging. AppNano and Vistaprobes cantilevers are defined using wet anisotropic processes. As a result, the cantilever cross-section is trapezoidal. A dry etch process is used to define the Aspire and Team Nanotec probes, resulting in cantilevers with a rectangular cross-section. The backside width of our cantilevers has been chosen to be between 35 to 45 µm. This makes the cantilever suitable for all commercially available AFMs. The wide backside of the cantilever also helps reflecting laser completely for large SUM signal and eliminates laser falling and reflecting back from the sample surface. The cantilever thickness and length are varied to suit the requirements of various SPM applications. The tip is set at the far end of the free end is consistently controlled between 15 to 25 µm for easy and predictable alignment of the tip and the sample.

The chip (substrate) dimensions are 3400 µm x 1600 µm x 300 µm (length x width x thickness). The design fits into most commercially available SPMs.

Bottom view of a Atomic Force Microscope Cantilever

Sideview of a Atomic Force Microscope cantilever
AFM cantilevers are specified by their width, length, and thickness. These parameters determine important factors like resonance frequency and spring constant.