CoreAFM — The essence of AFM

The compact research AFM that offers best value for money

Compact by design, with a complete and streamlined feature set
A real performer that is both powerful and versatile
Simplicity and functionality that offer top value for money

Intelligently combining the core components of AFM to achieve maximum versatility and user-friendliness resulted in the CoreAFM. Because of this fundamental design, the CoreAFM is streamlined to perform atomic force microscopy at its best.

Compact and complete

The fusion of a modern flexure-guided scanner, a fully digital 32-bit controller, XYZ sample stage, camera, and air-flow protection in a single all-in-one unit results in a complete AFM system with an unparalleled compact footprint. All the essential functions of modern AFM are integral components of the CoreAFM system; thus, only connecting power and USB is all that is needed for a fully operational CoreAFM.

A closed scanner compartment offers air-flow protection during scanning, while sample stage positioners still allow you to move your sample between measurements
When the scanner compartment is opened, it provides easy access to the scanner and sample stage, e.g. to place a new sample for measurement

Powerful and versatile

State of the art electronics with 24-bit ADC and DAC ensure high-resolution XYZ driving of the 100×100×12 µm scanner and allow for low-noise force detection limited only by the cantilever. Thirty-two standard and optional modes with fully compatible add-ons make the CoreAFM the tool of choice for applications ranging from materials research to life science and electrochemistry. Starting from the basic CoreAFM system, its functionality can be seamlessly extended.

Deeper system integration of the Isostage is reflected in the unique SpikeGuard, which eliminates glitches during imaging. Although the Isostage is an active vibration isolation system, glitches can still occur when distortions are too severe. SpikeGuard detects such anomalies and rescans the line for a distortion-free image.

Included measurement modes

The CoreAFM can perform Static force, Dynamic force, Phase imaging, MFM, Lateral force, Force modulation, Standard spectroscopy, and Standard lithography out of the box. You can however enhance your measurement experience with CoreAFM mode kits.

Included standard mode kits

By default, the CoreAFM comes with the Static force mode kit, Dynamic force mode kit, and Phase imaging mode kit to get you started right away. Depending on the measurement mode, a mode kit may include samples, suitable cantilevers, accessories, or a combination thereof.

Additional standard mode kits

Additional standard-level mode kits that can be acquired separately are the Standard spectroscopy kit, Standard lithography kit, Standard MFM mode kit, Standard liquid kit, Lateral force mode kit, and Force modulation kit.

Advanced functionality

Advanced AFM modes and functionality like sample heating, environmental control, scripting, and many others can easily be added to your CoreAFM. Similar to the standard modes these functionalities come with mode kits (see for example the EFM mode kit). Besides samples, cantilevers and/or accessories these kits may also contain software keys. For details and dependencies, see the overview graphic above and the primary and secondary add-on lists in the sidebar.

System specifications

Max. scan range (XY) 100 µm < 5 nm flatness
Max. height range (Z) 12 µm closed loop
Detector noise (RMS) typ. 60 pm max. 100 pm
Sensor noise (RMS) typ. 180 pm max. 250 pm
Dynamic noise (RMS) typ. 40 pm max. 70 pm
Static noise (RMS) typ. 100 pm max. 200 pm
Scan control and inputs 24-bit ADC/DAC 200 kHz
Digital lock-in (2×) 16-bit ADC/DAC 20 MHz
User in/out, Excitation in 24-bit ADC/DAC 5 MHz, 10 V
Digital sync 2-bit line/frame sync out 5 V, TTL
Thermal tuning 10 Hz – 2 MHz  
FPGA, 32-bit CPU, 256 MB RAM programmable USB 2.0

Value for money

The minimalist and integrated design approach eliminates the need for cables and connectors between the scanner and controller, additional controller casing, air-flow protection, camera housing, and so on, thus making every remaining component essential to its function. Less is more — in case of the CoreAFM this means more value for your money.

The CoreAFM and its accessories have been designed as part of a consistent system concept.

Example of the thought and design processes that went into the development of the CoreAFM and its accessories, all leading to lower overall costs and higher reusability

The result is an integrated, high-quality, high-performance, and versatile AFM system that offers the best price-to-performance in the market. An atomic force microscope that is easy to use, robust, and easily extendable.

The CoreAFM brings you back to the essence of AFM: the measurement, not the machine!

Want to know if the CoreAFM is right for you?

Contact one of our application experts to discuss your needs!

The Nanosurf advantage

Compact and complete
Powerful and versatile
Best value for money

Latest CoreAFM applications

CoreAFM brochure

Primary add-on functionality

Conductive AFM mode option

Provides a conductive cantilever holder and current measurements from 10 nA to 100 µA to enable electrical AFM modes

Advanced MFM option

Adds a dual pass contour-following mode to improve MFM/EFM imaging quality

Sample heating option

Contains a sample holder and temperature controller to heat samples from room temperature up to 120°C

Environmental control option

A flexible enclosure between scanner and sample holder, and a sealing ring with feedthroughs for tubes and wires, together allow control of the sample environment

Electrochemistry option

A sample holder with a specially designed cell and electrode pads allows EC-AFM experiments

Signal I/O option

Extension for user-defined experiments (24-bit ADC/DAC, digital sync output, excitation input, deflection/friction signal outputs, Z-feedback on user input)

Petri dish option

Sample holder for liquid or bio applications that use Petri dishes

Cantilever holder FluidFM

FluidFM®-compatible cantilever holder to allow the use of FluidFM® probes from Cytosurge

Advanced lithography option

Adds the nano-printing mode and the possibility to read CAD vector data for lithography

Advanced spectroscopy option

Adds the possibility for large spec maps, real-time spec curve analysis, spec curve process, and stop-by-value. Adds cantilever spring constant and deflection sensitivity calibration. Includes one license for the SPIP post-processing software.

Scripting interface option

Enables AFM control via scripts, LabView, and other programming languages that support Microsoft COM automation

Isostage 300

Active vibration isolation table with unique SpikeGuard feature

Secondary add-on functionality

Petri dish heating option

Adds heating electronics to the petri dish option to allow heating of liquids (up to 45°C)

Advanced conductive AFM option

Sample holder with built-in current pre-amplifier for low current measurement (down to pA range)

EFM mode kit

Provides a sample for EFM and KPFM measurements

PFM mode option

Enables a secondary lock-in to measure piezo forces while imaging

KPFM mode option

Enables a secondary lock-in and tip voltage feedback controller to measure kelvin forces while imaging

Scanning thermal option

Provides the cantilevers, cantilever holder, and electronics to perform SThM

Nano-thermal analysis option

Provides the cantilevers, cantilever holder, and electronics to perform local heat dissipation measurements

FluidFM® add-on functionality


Adds a low-current, low-noise pre-amplifier and accessories that allow scanning ion current imaging to enhance resolution on soft materials in liquid

FluidFM nanolithography

Allows you to perform nanolithography by dispensing liquids to create µm-sized structures

FluidFM spotting

Allows you to perform spotting by dispensing liquids in the sub-femtoliter range

FluidFM colloidal spectroscopy

Allows you to perform colloidal spectroscopy in large measurement series via rapidly exchangeable spheres

Innovation, Ease of Use, Reliability!


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