New Scanning Probe Microscope Offers Improved Sensitivity

Hitachi High-Tech Corporation has released the AFM100 Pro High-Sensitivity Scanning Probe Microscope System. The new high-end scanning probe microscope highlights a newly developed high-sensitivity optical head. This improves sensitivity when measuring physical properties and enables measurement at atomic and molecular scales.

The development of highly sensitive measurement and analysis equipment is in great demand specially in the research and development of advanced functional materials. The AFM100 Pro meets the requirement for on-site analysis and will contribute to solving customer issues.

AFM100 Pro scanning probe microscope

Overview of AFM

An atomic force microscope (AFM) is a measurement and analysis device that scans the surface of a sample. It uses a probe with a tip that is just a few nanometers in diameter. Moreover, an AFM can visualize a sample surface at the nanoscale, and simultaneously, perform physical property evaluations. This tool is used in research and development and quality control across a wide range of industries, such as semiconductor, polymer, and biomedical.

Hitachi High-Tech provides a wide range of user-friendly AFM devices. It has been constantly improving the reliability of these devices by simplifying the AFM measurement process and preventing data variances caused by the operator.

Development Background

In recent years, the development of advanced functional materials has been focusing on nanoscale engineering. Specifically, it aims to facilitate the development of carbon neutrality, digital transformation involving AI and IoT, EVs, 5G, and power devices. As new functional materials are getting smaller, thinner, and more organic, there has been an increased demand to improve sensitivity when measuring microscopic changes and minor variations in the physical properties of material surfaces.

AFM100 Pro Features

To face these challenges, the AFM100 Pro is equipped with a newly developed high-sensitivity optical head. It uses photothermal excitation to achieve improved sensitivity when measuring physical properties and measurement at the atomic and molecular scales.

High-sensitivity optical head

The newly developed high-sensitivity optical head improves sensitivity when measuring physical properties. Also, it reduces the noise level for cantilever displacement detection and optimizes detection sensitivity.

In addition, the photothermal excitation function (IR-Drive) enables a stable control of the cantilever oscillation amplitude in the sub-nanometer order. This enables high-resolution measurement when observing in liquids. Meanwhile, the IR-Drive excites the cantilever using light.

Advanced correlation analysis of physical properties and SEM observation

The high-sensitivity optical head with a significantly reduced noise level enables the detection of subtle differences in physical property. On the other hand, this could not be observed using conventional optical heads due to relatively higher noises. The optional AFM Marking function makes it easy to observe the same location as the scanning probe microscope (SEM), contributing significantly to identifying the factors behind the subtle differences in physical property information.

Scalable and durable

The standard AFM100 model and the AFM100 Plus can both be upgraded to the AFM100 Pro. For example, customers can start with the budget friendly AFM100, then upgrade to the AFM100 Pro later if a higher level of analysis is needed. In addition, a self-checking function is included as standard. This feature will ensure the reliability of the equipment for a long time.

Hitachi High-Tech will continue to provide innovative solutions like this product in a timely manner. Simultaneously, it will work on observation, measurement and analysis to solve social issues together with its customers, as well as contribute to cutting-edge manufacturing.