atomic force microscope (AFM) is a revolution in the world of nanoscale imaging. Based upon attractive and repulsive forces at atomic level, it uses a scanning probe composed of a cantilever with a sharp tip which moves over the area to be visualized. As it approaches very close to the surface, attractive forces draw it nearer up to a threshold at which repulsive forces take over and push it away.
These are reflected in the cantilever movement, which is recorded by means of an incident beam of laser light that reflects off the top of the cantilever (which is flat). The changes in the direction of the reflected beam are tracked using a position-sensing photo diode. Provided the incident beam is always at the same height above the surface, which is achieved using a feedback loop, it can be used to map the surface accurately by means of the cantilever deflection.
Other advantages include being able to achieve atomic-scale resolution and requires little prior preparation of the sample.
ezAFM™ from NanoMagnetics Instruments Ltd is a cutting-edge portable AFM which is a remarkable combination of powerful performance with budget pricing. It is recommended for use in student laboratories, and for high schools, as part of nanotechnology education and in basic research.
It is not only small and compact but very stable and intuitive in its design, making it easy to operate without formal training in this field. It enables one to study materials at nanometer scale in detail.
Some of the standard features of the ezAFM include:
Commercially free cantilevers which are alignment free
Different scan ranges of 120x120x40 microns or 40x40x4 microns
Several imaging modes for versatility of application, namely, contact, dynamic or phase imaging, lateral force and MFM modes
A noise floor of 65√Hz
High resolution optical microscope integrated into the system
Interfaces for USBs
Standard sample size of 10x10x5 mm, but can be configured to allow any size
High resolution video camera which is full HD, with 390x230 microns FOV, 2516x1960 pixels, 30 fps
24 bit ADCs/DACs
Free software upgrades throughout the device lifetime, with unlimited user license
It offers other optional imaging facilities, as well, such as:
Scanning tunneling microscopy
The accessories that can be used along with the AFM include:
Signal access module
Motorized XY sample positioner of 40 mm stroke
Manual XY sample positioner of 2 mm stroke