Park XE-150 Atomic Force Microscope


The XE-150 is an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). AFM is the most versatile and powerful microscopy technology for studying samples at nanoscale. It is versatile because an atomic force microscope can not only image in three-dimensional topography, but it also provides various types of surface measurements to the needs of scientists and engineers. It is powerful because an AFM can generate images at atomic resolution with angstrom-scale resolution height information, with minimum sample preparation.

The XE-150 enables to take an image up to six inches in size. Its motorized X-Y stage can travel around the larger sample surface with ease. The tool also has high quality active vibration cancellation system which is provided to effectively eliminate more external noise from a larger sample.

The principles of AFM

Surface sensing. An AFM uses a cantilever with a very sharp tip to scan over a sample surface. As the tip approaches the surface, the close-range, attractive force between the surface and the tip cause the cantilever to deflect towards the surface. However, as the cantilever is brought even closer to the surface, such that the tip makes contact with it, increasingly repulsive force takes over and causes the cantilever to deflect away from the surface.

Detection method. A laser beam is used to detect cantilever deflections towards or away from the surface. By reflecting an incident beam off the flat top of the cantilever, any cantilever deflection will cause slight changes in the direction of the reflected beam. A position-sensitive photo diode (PSPD) can be used to track these changes. Thus, if an AFM tip passes over a raised surface feature, the resulting cantilever deflection (and the subsequent change in direction of reflected beam) is recorded by the PSPD.

Imaging. An AFM images the topography of a sample surface by scanning the cantilever over a region of interest. The raised and lowered features on the sample surface influence the deflection of the cantilever, which is monitored by the PSPD. By using a feedback loop to control the height of the tip above the surface — thus maintaining constant laser position — the AFM can generate an accurate topographic map of the surface features.

  • atomic force microscopy
ASU Unit
Knowledge Enterprise
Service ASU rate Nonprofit/other academic rate Notes
Equipment use $33/hour $43/hour  
Park XE-150 Atomic Force Microscope