CoreAFM — The essence of AFM

CoreAFM — The essence of AFM

  • Compact and robust atomic force microscope for stand alone and large stage operation
  • Easy and quick cantilever exchange and alignment reduces downtime
  • Automated batch measurements and scripting interface for system integration




CoreAFM — The essence of AFM

The compact research AFM that offers best value for money

Compact by design, with a complete and streamlined feature set
A real performer that is both powerful and versatile
Simplicity and functionality that offer top value for money

Intelligently combining the core components of AFM to achieve maximum versatility and user-friendliness resulted in the CoreAFM. Because of this fundamental design, the CoreAFM is streamlined to perform atomic force microscopy at its best.

The fusion of a modern flexure-guided scanner, a fully digital 32-bit controller, XYZ sample stage, camera, and air-flow protection in a single all-in-one unit results in a complete AFM system with an unparalleled compact footprint. All the essential functions of modern AFM are integral components of the CoreAFM system; thus, only connecting power and USB is all that is needed for a fully operational CoreAFM.

A closed scanner compartment offers air-flow protection during scanning, while sample stage positioners still allow you to move your sample between measurements


When the scanner compartment is opened, it provides easy access to the scanner and sample stage, e.g. to place a new sample for measurement

 Powerful and versatile

State of the art electronics with 24-bit ADC and DAC ensure high-resolution XYZ driving of the 100×100×12 µm scanner and allow for low-noise force detection limited only by the cantilever. Thirty-two standard and optional modes with fully compatible add-ons make the CoreAFM the tool of choice for applications ranging from materials research to life science and electrochemistry. Starting from the basic CoreAFM system, its functionality can be seamlessly extended.

Deeper system integration of the Isostage is reflected in the unique SpikeGuard, which eliminates glitches during imaging. Although the Isostage is an active vibration isolation system, glitches can still occur when distortions are too severe. SpikeGuard detects such anomalies and rescans the line for a distortion-free image.

Included measurement modes

The CoreAFM can perform Static force, Dynamic force, Phase imaging, MFM, Lateral force, Force modulation, Standard spectroscopy, and Standard lithography out of the box. You can however enhance your measurement experience with CoreAFM mode kits.

Included standard mode kits

By default, the CoreAFM comes with the Static force mode kit, Dynamic force mode kit, and Phase imaging mode kit to get you started right away. Depending on the measurement mode, a mode kit may include samples, suitable cantilevers, accessories, or a combination thereof.

Additional standard mode kits

Additional standard-level mode kits that can be acquired separately are the Standard spectroscopy kit, Standard lithography kit, Standard MFM mode kit, Standard liquid kit, Lateral force mode kit, and Force modulation kit.

Advanced functionality

Advanced AFM modes and functionality like sample heating, environmental control, scripting, and many others can easily be added to your CoreAFM. Similar to the standard modes these functionalities come with mode kits (see for example the EFM mode kit). Besides samples, cantilevers and/or accessories these kits may also contain software keys. For details and dependencies, see the overview graphic above and the primary and secondary add-on lists in the sidebar.

System specifications


Max. scan range (XY) 100 µm < 5 nm flatness
Max. height range (Z) 12 µm closed loop
Detector noise (RMS) typ. 60 pm max. 100 pm
Sensor noise (RMS) typ. 180 pm max. 250 pm
Dynamic noise (RMS) typ. 40 pm max. 70 pm
Static noise (RMS) typ. 100 pm max. 200 pm


Scan control and inputs 24-bit ADC/DAC 200 kHz
Digital lock-in (2×) 16-bit ADC/DAC 20 MHz
User in/out, Excitation in 24-bit ADC/DAC 5 MHz, 10 V
Digital sync 2-bit line/frame sync out 5 V, TTL
Thermal tuning 10 Hz – 2 MHz
FPGA, 32-bit CPU, 256 MB RAM programmable USB 2.0

Value for money

The minimalist and integrated design approach eliminates the need for cables and connectors between the scanner and controller, additional controller casing, air-flow protection, camera housing, and so on, thus making every remaining component essential to its function. Less is more — in case of the CoreAFM this means more value for your money.

The CoreAFM and its accessories have been designed as part of a consistent system concept.

Example of the thought and design processes that went into the development of the CoreAFM and its accessories, all leading to lower overall costs and higher reusability

The result is an integrated, high-quality, high-performance, and versatile AFM system that offers the best price-to-performance in the market. An atomic force microscope that is easy to use, robust, and easily extendable.

The CoreAFM brings you back to the essence of AFM: the measurement, not the machine!