Nano-Observer Atomic Force Microscope, Microscope à Force Atomique

Nano-Observer AFM

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Flexible and powerful AFM


Discover also the AzoNano Article by Stuart Milne.




The Nano-Observer AFM microscope is a flexible and powerful AFM. Designed with the ultimate technologies, it combines performance and ease of use. The USB controller offers a real integrated lock-in for better measurement capability (phase detection, Piezo-Response Mode…).

A low-noise laser and a pre-alignment system provide simplicity and high resolution on a compact AFM head. Its intuitive software simplifies all AFM Microscope settings to allow quick and safe AFM acquisitions.

Compact and robust, the Nano-Observer AFM Microscope fulfills the requirements for advanced users or beginners. It avoids laser alignment with the pre-positioned tip system. A top and side view of the tip/sample, combined with vertical motorized control, makes the pre-approach easy.




High resolution and quality AFM microscope


The Nano-Observer AFM microscope uses an advanced flat scanning stage to avoid well known defects of the piezoelectric tube scanner such as bow, X-Y crosstalk etc. A low noise feedback control delivers reliable and high performance. A patented flexure stage with 3 independent low voltage piezoelectric devices mounted in a massive platform and combined with a low noise laser and electronics achieves high resolution measurement at atomic scale.


Topography signal, Scan size 3µm x 3µm, Graphene Topography signal, Scan range 5µm x 5µm, Mono atomic steps on SrTiO3 film Topography signal, Scan range 150nm x 150nm, C36 molecules deposited on HOPG


Through a smart choice of analog and digital processing, each signal is enhanced to avoid addition of noise and perform a fast feedback. The scanner is controlled by 24-bit D/A converters providing high precision scan to the AFM microscope. A built-in lock-in for accurate topography, phase or MFM/EFM/KFM and PFM measurements is coupled with low noise electronics to acquire highly resolved images and spectroscopy


Intuitive AFM microscope to simplify AFM measurements



- Top & side view for tip/sample positioning

A video color camera is provided with the AFM microscope offering an helpful viewing from the top for tip/sample positioning or side view to make the tip/sample approach easier.

  • Sample/tip visibility
  • Ease of use
  • Avoids damaging sample or tip
  • Better contrast by lateral illumination


- Intuitive software

Only main parameters are displayed for a clean and simple interface software




In addition to performance, the Nano-Observer is capable of several advanced modes which expand your field of investigation. Beside contact/LFM and Oscillating/ Phase imaging, several modes are available to characterize mechanical viscoelasticity, adhesion of your samples as well as electrical properties (CAFM, ResiScopeTM), electric and magnetic fields (MFM/ EFM) and surface potential (standard KFM or HD-KFMTM) . 8 real-time image channels are available to increase capability of analysis.

- Electric Field Microscopy (EFM) is an oscillating mode. A metal tip scans the surface to record the topography. Then, the tip is over the sample and recording the offsets of the phase signal of the interactions with the gradient of electrical forces present on the surface


Top Topography, 65μm x 65μm, Bottom : Phase signal: 65μm x65μm, Right: phase signal : 15μm x 15μm, Nanotubes «network» deposited between two electrodes (positive and negative bias).

Topography and EFM signals on gold Electrodes, 60µm scan


- Magnetic Field Microscopy (MFM) is an oscillating mode. A magnetic tip scans the surface to record the topography. Then, the tip is over the sample and recording the offsets of the phase signal of interaction with the magnetic forces on the surface.


Artificial Spin Ice 6.5µm scan Sample courtesy of P. Vavassori, Nanogune – SPAIN

Topography and MFM signals Scan range 4.5µm x 4.5µm Magnetic triangles structures


- Conductive AFM (C-AFM) is an AFM contact mode.  A conductive tip saves the current variations of the surface using an amplifier. Curves of current / voltage can be conducted at various locations on the sample.


Current signal Scan range 35µm x 35µm, Semiconductor. Current signal Scan size : 3µm x 3µm, ITO


- Force modulation mode is a mode of contact AFM. A mechanical oscillation is applied to the tip during the scan. A map of mechanical properties is carried out by measuring the amplitude of oscillation and the offsets of the phase signal.


Topography and Phase signals, Scan size 25µm x 25 µm, Block Polymer


- Piezo Force Microscopy (PFM) is a AFM contact mode. An electrical oscillation is applied to the conductive tip during scanning. Mapping piezoelectric orientation areas is carried out by measuring the amplitude of oscillation and the offsets of the phase signal.


Topography and Amplitude signals, scan size 2.5µm*2.5µm, ZnO



The ultimate in AFM electrical measurement



- HD-KFMTM (Kelvin Force Microscopy)

CSInstruments has developed an ultra-sensitive implementation of KFM named as High Definition-KFM (HD-KFM), which uses 2 lock-ins matched to the first two eigenmode frequencies of the cantilever to acquire both topography and SP.

  • Surface potential mapping
  • 2nd lock-in amplifier
  • NO LIFT : Very high sensitivity & higher spatial resolution



- ResiScopeTM II (Resistance over 10 decades)

The Nano-Observer AFM has a unique ResiScope mode based on a specialized electronics to measure resistivity over 10 orders of magnitude, compared to the typical 3-4 orders of magnitude obtained with standard conductive setups in other AFMs.

  • Resistance & Current mapping
  • High sensitivity over the full range
  • Compatible with
    • Oscillating mode / AC mode
    • EFM / MFM or single pass KFM
  • Out put information
    • R
    • Log R
    • CurrentI/V spectroscopy


Resistance image, Scan size 5 μm x 5 μm,
Local Oxidation Nanolithography (LON) patterns, obtained on a 10 nm thick titanium layer deposited onto alumina substrate. Courtesy of Angel Perez. Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB – CSIC)
Resistance signal,Contact mode, Scan size: 50×50 microns. RAM memory Resistance signal, scan size 5µm, Organic Solar Cell



- Soft ResiScope

For delicate samples like polymers or organic materiales, CSI has developed the Soft ResiScope mode, which allows to perform the resistance measurements in an intermittent contact mode with constant force. This allows to avoid or minimize wear/friction on the






- Environmental control

Improve your AFM electrical measurements & protect your sample (gas, humidity…).


  • Prevents the contamination, sample oxydation…
  • Stable measurement for electrical characterization
    • ResiScope, CAFM, KFM
  • Gases, humidity…
  • Applications
    • Electrical measurement






- EZ Liquids

The Nano-Observer AFM is compatible with imaging in liquid environment…


Topography signal, scan size 80µm x 80µm Embryonic Fibroblast cell DNA circles deposited on mica



- EZ TEMPerature

-40°C to 200°C, compatible with oscillating and contact modes


Temperature : 70°C to 40°C, Resonant mode,
PCL (polycaprolactone) crystallization under temperature control , Scan size : 20µm







XY scan range 100 μm (tolerance +/- 10%)
Z range 10 μm (tolerance +/- 10%)
XY drive resolution 24 bit control - 0.06 Angströms
Z drive resolution 24 bit control - 0.006 Angströms
Ultra low noise HV Typ : <0.01 mV RMS
6 DAC Outputs 6 D/A Converters – 24 bit
(XYZ drive, bias, aux…)
8 ADC Inputs 8 A/D Converters – 16 bit
Data points Up to 4096
Integrated Lock-in Up to 6 MHz (software limited)
2nd lock-in (6 MHz-optional)
Interface USB (2.0 - 3.0 compatible)
Controller Power AC 100 – 240 V - 47-63 Hz
Operating System Windows XP, 7, 8 or 10


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