The DriveAFM is the new flagship instrument from Nanosurf that makes use of the most advanced technology to offer stable, ultimate performance. It has been engineered to meet the demands of top-level research, both at present and in the future.

  • Ultra-low noise
  • Fully motorized system ensures complete control through software
  • CleanDrive for stable excitation in liquid and air
  • Direct drive for large scan area and high-resolution imaging
Introducing the DriveAFM high-end atomic force microscope system

Video Credit: Nanosurf AG

CleanDrive: stability in air and liquid with photothermal excitation

Photothermal excitation of the cantilever offers a linear frequency response, unmatched stability, and a high excitation bandwidth in both liquid and air environments. These advantages enable measurements for high-speed applications and at different frequencies while also paving the way for novel measurement modes (for example, Cytomass Monitor).

These benefits are magnified in liquids because only the cantilever beam is excited, while the liquid environment stays undisturbed to a large extent. This leads to clean resonance peaks and not the 'forest of peaks' often observed during the piezo-acoustic excitation of cantilevers.

Moreover, this technique of exciting the cantilever is not affected by distance to the sample and changes in the environment, which makes the entire measurement system much more stable.

Thanks to its small light spots, the DriveAFM is compatible with small cantilevers, which offer various benefits that make them exceptional in performance. Small cantilevers exhibit the same spring constant as a traditional cantilever, but feature a considerably higher operational bandwidth and resonance frequency.

The noise performance is also improved. The small dimensions ensure improved sensitivity and lower hydrodynamic drag. All of these lead to enhanced imaging performance.

Photothermal excitation (CleanDrive)

Photothermal excitation of the cantilever is the new best practice for high-performance AFM systems. The animation shows how the cantilever is actuated by an oscillating laser hitting the base of the cantilever beam. Video Credit: Nanosurf AG

Ultra-low noise

The DriveAFM features a very low overall noise floor realized by the combination of a low-noise/high-bandwidth photodetector and a low-noise/low-coherence superluminescent diode used in the beam deflection detection module and the low-noise/high-bandwidth CX Controller. This forms the basis for the sensitive, stable, and high-resolution imaging and force spectroscopy potential of the DriveAFM.

Image Credit: Nanosurf AG

Direct drive scanner

The DriveAFM leverages the power of direct drive piezo actuation. The flexure scanner of the DriveAFM features a non-geared 1:1 actuation scheme, thus offering more force and driving stiffer scanners.

The ensuing higher resonance frequency of the scanner components enables a higher available actuation bandwidth compared to what is achieved with geared drives of the same scan size. Together with the low noise 28-bit CX Controller, the direct drive scanner actuation enables imaging at both high resolution and large scales.

The DriveAFM is the ideal solution for high-resolution imaging of challenging samples like polymeric structures (for example, DNA), proteins, or nanostructures, as well as larger, micrometer-sized structures.

Full motorization

The DriveAFM is the first-ever fully motorized AFM system that can be in-built into an inverted optical microscope. The fully motorized control of the two light sources for the beam deflection detection system and the CleanDrive photothermal excitation, as well as the photodetector, can be achieved by using the software.

The approach of the tip to the sample is motorized. The complete motorization not just enables ease of use but also facilitates new possibilities to completely automate the system.