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Posted: Nov 08, 2013

Asylum Research Introduces blueDrive Photothermal Excitation For Atomic Force Microscopy Imaging and Nanomechanics

(Nanowerk News) Asylum Research, an Oxford Instruments company, announces blueDrive photothermal excitation, an option available exclusively for Asylum’s Cypher™ Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs). blueDrive makes tapping mode imaging remarkably simple, incredibly stable, and strikingly accurate. blueDrive replaces the conventional piezoacoustic excitation mechanism, instead using a blue laser to directly excite the AFM cantilever photothermally. This results in an ideal cantilever drive response in both air and liquids, which provides significant performance and ease of use benefits for tapping mode imaging.
blueDrive photothermal excitation
blueDrive photothermal excitation produces ideal drive responses in both air and liquid. Here, the response of a small, high-frequency cantilever was measured using blueDrive. In both air and liquid, the blueDrive response almost perfectly matches the expected simple harmonic oscillator response.
“Tapping mode is by far the dominant choice in the world of AFM due to its performance and versatility. blueDrive reinvents tapping mode AFM imaging, making it simpler, more stable and more quantitative,” said Ben Ohler, Director of Marketing at Asylum Research. “These benefits extend across the entire range of tapping mode measurements, from topographical imaging in air and liquids to quantitative nanomechanical mapping of viscoelastic properties.”
“The cantilever response in tapping mode provides a remarkably sensitive and rich measure of both conservative and dissipative tip-sample interactions,“ explained Jason Cleveland, CEO and co-founder of Asylum Research. “This same depth of information can’t be obtained by force mapping techniques. So rather than abandoning tapping mode, as others have, at Asylum we developed blueDrive to make tapping mode imaging easier and more stable. blueDrive also enhances many of the tools in our NanomechPro™ toolkit, like loss tangent imaging and AM-FM and Contact Resonance Viscoelastic Mapping Modes, making them more robust and more accurate.”
Photothermal cantilever excitation was first used in the early 1990’s to achieve the clean, linear drive response demanded by then newly developed frequency-modulation (FM) imaging techniques. Since those early days, AFM manufacturers have begun to recognize more and more that the drive response in all AC mode or tapping mode techniques suffers from limitations of piezoacoustic excitation. Various attempts at so-called “direct-drive” piezoacoustic and magnetic actuation (such as iDrive™) have been put forth as solutions. Lately, some have called for replacing tapping mode outright. Asylum Research recognized the potential for photothermal excitation to dramatically improve tapping mode imaging. The flexible, modular optical path in the Cypher AFM made it practical to offer this capability commercially for the first time.
blueDrive is available exclusively on the Asylum Research Cypher S and Cypher ES AFMs and is compatible with the full range of tapping mode techniques in air and liquid including topographic imaging, phase imaging, electric force microscopy (EFM), Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM, or surface potential imaging), magnetic force microscopy (MFM), and AM-FM and Contact Resonance Viscoelastic Mapping Modes. blueDrive makes tapping mode setup exceptionally easy. It works together with the Cypher SpotOn™ click-to-align laser feature and its ideal drive response eliminates cantilever tune uncertainty. It is also completely safe for temperature sensitive samples, with adjustable laser power to ensure the optimal drive power for probes in air and liquid.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.AsylumResearch.com/blueDrive or email us at sales@asylumresearch.com for a quotation.
About Asylum Research, an Oxford Instruments company
Asylum Research is a technology leader in atomic force microscopy for both materials and bioscience applications, dedicated to innovative instrumentation for nanoscience and nanotechnology. Founded in 1999, Asylum Research has over 300 years combined AFM/SPM experience among our staff. Asylum Research AFMs are used for a variety of nanoscience applications in material science, physics, polymers, chemistry, biomaterials, and bioscience, including single molecule mechanical experiments on DNA, protein unfolding and polymer elasticity, as well as force measurements for biomaterials, chemical sensing, polymers, colloidal forces, adhesion, and more.
Asylum’s MFP-3D™ family of AFMs sets the standard for AFM technology, with unprecedented precision and flexibility. Four configurations now comprise the MFP-3D family. The MFP-3D Origin™, the most affordable member, offers performance and full upgrade potential. The full MFP-3D provides performance with the maximum versatility of a wide range of modes and accessories. The MFP-3D-BIO™ is the only full capability AFM integrated with commercial inverted optical microscopes for advanced bioscience research. In addition, our MFP NanoIndenter™ offers the only true instrumented indenting for quantitative measurements.
The Cypher™ AFM is the highest resolution fast scanning AFM, now with environmental control. Cypher provides low-drift closed loop atomic resolution for the most accurate images and measurements possible today, point defect atomic resolution, >20X faster AC imaging with small cantilevers, Spot-On™ automated laser and photodetector alignment for easy setup, integrated thermal, acoustic and vibration control, and broad support for all major AFM/SPM scanning modes and capabilities.
Asylum Research offers the best warranties in the industry, ranging from two to five years, along with unmatched customer support. Asylum has global sales and service offices in Germany, UK, Japan, Shanghai and Taiwan.
Source: Asylum Research (press release)
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