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Measure Both Elastic and Viscous Properties with AFM

(Nanowerk News) Oxford Instruments Asylum Research announces the availability of its powerful new nanomechanical imaging technique, AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping Mode, for its entire line of Cypher™ and MFP-3D™ atomic force microscopes (AFMs). AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping Mode lets you quickly and gently image viscoelastic properties including storage modulus and loss tangent with nanoscale spatial resolution. The imaging mode is ideal for quantitative nanomechanical measurements on materials such as polymers, composites, biomaterials, ceramics, and metals.
“AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping Mode is arguably the most powerful nanomechanical technique in Asylum’s NanomechPro™ Toolkit because it can measure both the elastic storage modulus and the viscous loss modulus or loss tangent over an extremely wide range of materials,” said Roger Proksch, President of Oxford Instruments Asylum Research. “AM-FM combines the features and benefits of normal tapping mode (AM) with quantitative, high sensitivity Frequency Modulation mode (FM). Because it’s based on normal tapping mode, it is simple and stable to operate, gentle enough for the softest samples and provides amazing high resolution images. It is also compatible with small cantilevers for fast scanning and reduced noise.”
AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping
(click on image to enlarge)
AM-FM Mode gets results by operating at two cantilever resonances simultaneously. The first resonance is used for tapping mode imaging, also known as amplitude modulation (AM), while a higher resonance mode is operated in frequency modulation (FM). At resonance, the cantilever frequency and phase respond sensitively to changes in sample properties (i.e. stiffness, adhesion, loss tangent, etc.).
Small frequency and phase shifts can be measured with very high precision and accuracy, reducing uncertainty and increasing sensitivity. AM-FM offers quick visualization of relative contrast of sample components, and provides quantitative estimates of mechanical properties with Asylum’s built-in or customizable mechanical models. Its very wide operating range, from less than 1 MPa to hundreds of GPa, makes it a highly versatile and high resolution technique.
AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping is just one of the many techniques that are available in Asylum’s NanomechPro™ toolkit. Additional information on AM-FM Viscoelastic Mapping can be found at To receive a quotation, email
Image caption: AM-FM Mode images for a polystyrene-polycaprolactone (PS-PCL) polymer film on mica: elastic storage modulus (a and c), viscoelastic loss tangent (b), and indentation depth (d). Scan sizes 5 µm (a and b) and 1.5 µm (c and d). Storage modulus is higher in PS regions (light brown) than PCL regions (dark brown), while PCL regions exhibit higher loss tangent than PS. Images acquired on a Cypher S with bluedrive photothermal excitation.
About Oxford Instruments Asylum Research
Oxford Instruments Asylum Research is the technology leader in atomic force microscopy for both materials and bioscience research. Asylum Research AFMs are used for a wide variety of nanoscience applications in material science, physics, polymers, chemistry, tribology, biomaterials, and bioscience, including emerging applications in energy storage and generation, low-dimensional materials, and biophysics.
Asylum’s MFP-3D family of AFMs includes four different models that span a wide range of performance, applications, and budgets. The new MFP-3D Infinity is the flagship of the family, offering the highest performance, simplest operation, and widest range of capabilities. The MFP-3D Classic, the original MFP-3D offered for mid-range budgets, provides high performance and versatility that exceeds most AFMs. The MFP-3D Origin is the most affordable model, offering the same performance as the MFP-3D Classic with many accessories and an easy upgrade path to advanced capabilities. Finally, the MFP-3D-BIO integrates with an inverted light microscope to support biological and photonic applications.
Cypher is the highest resolution fast scanning AFM and is available in two configurations, the Cypher S and the Cypher ES Environmental AFM. They provide low-drift closed loop imaging for the most accurate images and measurements possible today, >20X faster imaging with small cantilevers, exceptional ease of use, and integrated thermal, acoustic and vibration control – all in a small footprint. Cypher AFMs routinely achieve higher resolution than other AFMs, as demonstrated by single point atomic defects in crystal lattices and imaging of the DNA double helix.
The Cypher ES adds gas and liquid environmental control, temperature control, and enhanced chemical compatibility to the extraordinary performance of the Cypher S.
In addition to the best AFMs, Asylum Research also offers unmatched customer support that is free for the lifetime of the AFM and industry-leading warranties for the lowest cost of ownership of any AFM. Asylum has sales, applications and service staff in offices in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France, China and Taiwan and global distribution.
Source: Asylum Research (press release)
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