Helping Solve Processing and Materials  Problems using Scanning Probe Microscopy since 1990.

CD stamper bumps, perspective view


Phone:  1-800-374-8557  Fax: 1-317-895-5652

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: Products and services for AFM, STM, and SEM
: Applications of AFM and STM
   : CD
   : DVD
   : HD-DVD
   : Hard Disks
   : Magnetic Tape
   : More
: Pharmaceutical materials
     : Collagen fibers
     : Collagen monomers
     : DNA Plasmids
   : Polymer molecules
   : Orthopedic implants
   : Opthamalic Devices
   : Diagnostic devices
   : And More
   : Powders
   : Naturally occurring (cellulose)
   : Blends
   : Copolymers
   : Material domains
   : Paper
   : Packaging materials
   : Cast, extruded, or molded polymers
: Coatings
   : Paint
   : Paper finishing
   : Can coatings
: Electronic Materials
   : Silicon
   : Silicon Carbide
   : Germanium
   : Gallium Arsenide
   : Wafers
   : Thin Films
: Automotive
   : Corrosion
   : Wear
: Energy Technologies
   : Corrosion
   : Calalysts
: New materials including ultra high strength magnets
: Optics & Photonics
   : Diffraction Gratings
   : Modified surfaces
   : superpolished optics
   : Ultrasmooth surfaces
   : IR
   : Visible Light
   : UV
   : X-Ray
: Telecommunications

: Metals

:Gallery of interesting images



Summary of Techniques

  • Scanning Probe Microscopy comprises a family of techniques in which a sharp probe is precisely scanned across a surface. Atomic Force Microscopy is one example.
  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is used to solve processing and materials problems in a wide range of technologies. We use it to study:
    • phenomena and processes, such as abrasion, adhesion, cleaning, corrosion, etching, friction, lubrication, microlithography, molding, plating and polishing.
    • materials, such as polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, glass, metals, composites, biomaterials, paper, pulp, magnetic and electronic materials
  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) is the original scanning probe technique. Because STM requires a conductive surface, its applications are somewhat limited. STM is useful in industry for examining carbon materials.
  • Tapping Mode height and phase imaging is the most widely used AFM technique. It is very gentle, allowing imaging of single polymer molecules on surfaces. It highlights surface regions of different composition and the presence of very thin coatings and contaminant deposits (e.g. oil residues, photoresist residues).
  • Magnetic Force Microscopy shows the fine details of bit and domain structure on media, as well as the magnetic fields emanating from operating recording heads. Also shows domain structure in new magnetic materials.
  • Electric Force Microscopy distinguishes fixed charges, conductive and insulating regions and identifies short and open circuits.
  • Surface Potential Imaging (Scanning Kelvin Probe) distinguishes materials based on the work function and related electronic properties. For example, the data marks in CD-RW (rewritable compact disc) are amorphous spots surrounded by crystalline regions of the quaternary alloy AgInSbTe.
  • Force-Volume Imaging provides arrays of specimen-tip response curves to document stiffness, adhesion and other effects involving surface and near-surface mechanical properties.
  • Nano-Indentation and Nano-Scratching tests stiffness, hardness and wear resistance of surfaces, thin films. Study stiffness variations across interfaces using sub-100 nm lateral resolution.
  • Lateral force microscopy (LFM, Friction imaging) distinguishes surface regions using frictional forces.
  • We can image wet samples under water in contact and Tapping modes.
  • We can remove and replace AFM specimens, relocating the same analysis spot within 1 micron or less. This permits studying before-after treatment differences or aging processes over long time periods.
  • Our DiscTrack Plus Media Measurement System/service gives extremely accurate track pitch, pit geometry, wobble and jitter measurements for optical discs.
  • MagneTrack measures track pitch and bit position and amplitude jitter on magnetic disks.
  • Other analytical services. In addition to AFM/STM, we provide comprehensive research services, including: surface chemical analysis (XPS/ESCA, Auger, TOF-SIMS), electron microscopy, and IR spectroscopy. Call us to discuss your technical needs. Without charge or obligation, we will suggest an appropriate set of studies.


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