At Prairie Nanotechnology, we use exclusively AFMs from Asylum Research, which we believe to be among the very best in the world. These include both the Cypher and MFP-3D systems. AFM can give an unprecidented quantitative view of your sample, measuring height variations, from atomic scale features up to several microns, with lateral scans from hundreds of nanometers up to 90 microns. Vertical resolution is sub-angstrom, and lateral resolution depends on the tip used to scan the surface. A standard tip radius is under ten nanometers. This sharp tip is used to mechanically probe the surface while scanning, giving an accurate quantitative 3D view of the sample surface topography. Samples are typically scanned in air, though scanning in liquids is also possible. No need to subject your sample to hard vacuum or intense electron beams.
Viewing the topography is just the beginning! With quantitative height data, we can directly calculate the RMS Roughness of the surface. Variations on this technique allow surface potential measurements, electric and magnetic field mapping, nanomechanical property measurement (variations in stiffness, Young's modulus).
Among our available special techniques:
AM-FM viscoelastic mapping of sample mechanical properties, exclusively on Asylum AFMs. It used dual frequency cantilever excitation and tracking of frequency shifts caused by differences in mechanical properties.
Contact Resonance viscoelastic mapping for moduli > 1GPa.
And coming soon,
Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM) for nanoscale resistivity and capacitance mapping.