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The ANA system is an automated solution for AFM-based nanomechanical analysis. It is designed to investigate the nanomechanical properties of materials such as cells, tissues, scaffolds, hydrogels, and polymers on multiple or large samples via force spectroscopy and force mapping in an intuitive and automated fashion.
ANA is compatible with Nanosurf’s FlexAFM scan heads: for materials science in the Flex-Axiom setup, as well as for life science applications in the Flex-Bio setup on an inverted microscope.
The combination of a straight-forward workflow-based experimental procedure in the ANA software, carefully selected hardware elements and motorization, and well-designed and thought-through control algorithms are hallmarks of the Flex-ANA system. Measurement locations on large or multiple samples are defined by simply clicking on an overview image with a large field-of-view that covers the entire accessible 32 mm × 32 mm sample area. Height differences of up to 5 mm can be easily overcome by the system, and many types of nanomechanical measurements, analyses and models can be performed and used!
|Large field-of-view overview image to define measurement locations within 32×32 mm2||Define measurement locations within the field of view of your inverted optical microscope|
|Precisely address areas of interest on large or multiple samples using motorized xy motion||Precisely address areas outside the xy scan range of the AFM
using the 12 mm x 12 mm motorized sample stage
|Cope with more than 4 mm height variation across a sample||Optional 100 µm z actuator to address e.g. high cells|
|Optional 100 µm z actuator for locally rough or sticky samples|
|Reduced viscoelastic effects: nanoindentation measurements are performed at appropriate indentation velocities to allow relaxation of the sample; automation allows collecting large amounts of data without operator presence|
|Small indentation depths and forces: nanoindentation can be performed with indentation depths and forces significantly lower than possible with conventional nanoindenters; force resolution below 7 pN (in liquid)|
Here we used the Flex-ANA system to investigate the elasticity of flat alginate gels for cell culture. Analysis of different areas of the gel at different resolutions revealed a significant spatial heterogeneity of the gel at the macroscopic level as well as at the microscopic level. Additionally, the force curve-based elasticity measurements also reveal first information about the porosity of the sample.
The ANA control software provides a Basic and an Expert user mode that are designed for different degrees of user experience and training:
In Basic mode, less experienced users are guided through the setup and calibration of the ANA system step-by-step. Optimized workflows guarantee that everything is done in the correct sequence, that nothing is forgotten, and that all is set properly.
In Expert mode, experienced users have more freedom in operating and setting up the system to suit their individual needs. Measurement parameters can also be prepared and stored by an expert, and then subsequently used by less experienced users in Basic mode.
During an experiment, the ANA system coordinates the movement of the scan head and the motorized XYZ translation stage (range: 32 mm × 32 mm × 5 mm) to cope with large sample height variations. The system can optionally be equipped with an additional 100-µm Z piezo for an extended force spectroscopy range. Thus, samples with macroscopic and microscopic roughness in the range of several millimeters and micrometers, respectively, as well as soft and sticky samples, can be easily addressed.
Learn about the automated nanomechancial analysis module and its application in analyzing blended polymers. See the ease of use in data collection and analysis, and how automated collection of data from multiple samples has the potential to save time and make your research more efficient.
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|Flex-ANA system workflow|
|Mounting and calibrating the cantilever||
|Sample loading and overview image||
|Definition of measurement locations and conditions||
|Start of the automated measurement||
|Results||Export of final histograms and maps|
|(1)Accessible modulus range depends on choice of cantilever|
|MTS 32 specifications|
|Range (X / Y / Z)||32 / 32 / 5 mm|
|Optional σZ range||100 µm|
|Positioning accuracy (X / Y / Z / σZ)||<1 / <1 / <1 / <0.001 µm|
|Repositioning accuracy (X / Y / Z)||<2 µm|