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

The CoreAFM is the result of intelligently combining the core components of AFM to achieve maximum versatility and user-friendliness. Due to this fundamental design approach, the CoreAFM is equipped to perform AFM at its best.

See for yourself how easy it is to prepare and operate the CoreAFM. Watch the video for a demonstration of the main features, and a brief tutorial on how to perform a measurement using this system.

Compact and complete

The fusion of a modern flexure-guided scanner, XYZ sample stage, camera, active vibration isolation table, and acoustic shielding in a single all-in-one unit results in a complete AFM system with an unparalleled compact footprint. The system comes with a fully digital 24-bit controller developed specifically for the CoreAFM scanhead. All the essential functions of modern AFM are integral components of the CoreAFM system; all you need to do to take the CoreAFM into operation is connect the controller, and plug in power and USB.

CoreAFM closed system
A closed scanner compartment features acoustic and air current isolation, while sample stage positioners still allow you to adjust your sample
CoreAFM open system
When the scanner compartment is opened, it provides 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 mode kit, lateral force mode kit, and force modulation mode kit.

Advanced functionality

Advanced AFM modes and functionality like sample heating, environmental control, scripting, and many others can easily be added to your CoreAFM. For details and dependencies, see the overview graphic above and the primary and secondary add-on lists in the sidebar.

See the Nanosurf Webshop for compatible mode kits and options.

Enhance the CoreAFM's FluidFM® functionality with the Digital Inverted Microscope Option

The CoreAFM is a very versatile atomic force microscope, that can be used for a multitude of different types of research. The DIMO enhances your CoreAFM to allow optical view from below, replacing the need for a completely different AFM setup with an inverted microscope.

Petri dish holder for CoreAFM

Enhanced viewing ability

Nanosurf has a long-standing collaboration with Cytosurge and has been developing FluidFM® solutions for FlexAFM since 2011, offering powerful applications for single cell analysis and manipulation. The DIMO upgrades the CoreAFM to also be capable of performing FluidFM®. It enhances your capabilities when using accessories like the petri dish holder (shown to the right).

Read more about the DIMO

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 eliminates the need for additional acoustic shielding, camera housing, and so on, thus making every remaining component essential to its function. Less is more — in the case of the CoreAFM, more value for your money.

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

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

The result is an integrated, high-quality, high-performance, and versatile AFM system that offers the best price-to-performance ratio on 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 CoreAFM advantage

Compact and complete
Powerful and versatile
Best value for money

Latest CoreAFM applications

Latest CoreAFM publications

CoreAFM brochure

CoreAFM software

Primary add-on functionality

AFM acoustic enclosure 150 option
Acoustic enclosure 150

Protects your measurements against acoustic disturbances

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

AFM sample heating option
Sample heating option

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

AFM environmental control option
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

EC-AFM electrochemical AFM option
Electrochemistry option

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

AFM signal I/O option
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)

AFM petri dish option
Petri dish option

Sample holder for liquid or bio applications that use Petri dishes

FluidFM cantilever holder
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.

AFM scripting interface option
Scripting interface option

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

Secondary add-on functionality

AFM petri dish heating option
Petri dish heating option

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

C-AFM conductive AFM option
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

AFM scanning thermal option
Scanning thermal option

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

AFM nano-thermal analysis option
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

CoreAFM videos