Hitachi High-Tech Corporation has released both AFM100 and AFM100 Plus systems – entry-level and intermediate-level models of Hitachi’s compact and versatile Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM).
These tools are designed to offer ease of use and superior reliability for high-throughput R&D or quality control applications.
The AFM is a type of Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM) that scans the surface of a sample using a sharp tip typically with a radius of a few nanometers (1 nanometer = 1/1,000,000 millimeter).
The AFM can provide both high-resolution visualization of surface morphology and simultaneous mapping of various other physical properties at the nanoscale.
Therefore, the AFM is intensively used for scientific research and development, as well as quality control across a wide range of industrial fields, such as examining battery materials, semiconductors, polymers, living organisms, etc.
Conventional AFM operation could be quite time-consuming and demanding. The workflow contains some mandatory steps such as loading a tiny cantilever (approximately 1 mm wide) manually with a tweezer to the target location, determining the right interaction force between the tip and the sample as well as adjusting the scan speed, all of which may involve back and forth trials.
As a result, the overall throughput from the start of the tool setup to the end of data acquisition was relatively low. In addition, both the quality and reliability of acquired AFM data can vary significantly from person to person since selecting an appropriate type of cantilevers and optimizing an array of imaging parameters are highly dependent on the operator’s experience and skill levels.
The AFM100 and AFM100 Plus developed by Hitachi High-Tech address these issues and aim to increase the expansion of AFM technology in industrial, scientific, and research and development fields.
Both the AFM100 and AFM100 Plus render extreme ease of use and ensure operator-to-operator consistency.
Particularly, the AFM100 Plus can be utilized in a wide variety of applications, including high-resolution imaging of nanomaterials such as graphene and carbon nanofibers, 3D shape observation over wide areas exceeding 0.1 mm, roughness analysis, and physical property evaluations.