Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

The best solution for automated force mapping

  • Straightforward experimental workflow: only a few steps from sample mounting to results
  • One-click cantilever calibration: automatic cantilever deflection sensitivity and spring constant (Sader method) measurement
  • Real-time data analysis: Young’s modulus, adhesion, and indentation are calculated and displayed during the measurement
  • Facilitates measurements on demanding samples: experimental workflow repositions the sample for every measurement area


Introducing the Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

The perfect tool for fully automated nanomechanical data acquisition and analysis

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.

anomechanical analysis of large or multiple samples

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!


Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

Key Features


Flex-Axiom Flex-Bio
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)


Key Benefits

ANA application examples

Nanomechanical analysis of alginate hydrogels

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.

Operation by experts as well as novice users

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.

Handle demanding samples with ease

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 details in our webinar by Dr. Edward Nelson

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.

Nanosurf Automated nanomechanics

Trust the Experts at Spectra Research Corporation

Spectra Research Corporation (SRC) offers a range of innovative high-quality scientific products and laboratory services to industrial and scientific markets throughout Canada.



System workflow and specifications

Flex-ANA system workflow
Mounting and calibrating the cantilever
  • Automated measurement and calculation of deflection sensitivity and spring constant
  • Spring constant calibration based on the Sader Method
  • Resonance frequency and Q-factor extraction from thermal noise power spectrum
  • Frequency range 0–5 MHz
Sample loading and overview image
  • 35 mm × 35 mm sample platform
  • Overview image covering up to 80 mm × 60 mm
Definition of measurement locations and conditions
  • Measurement locations can be defined on the optical overview image
  • Measurement conditions, e.g. contact force, indentation velocity or resolution, can be defined in the Flex-ANA software
Start of the automated measurement
  • Autonomous measurements at defined locations
  • Automatic sample approach at each location with a maximum approach range of 5 mm
  • Real-time data analysis (elastic modulus in the range of 0.1 kPa – 20 GPa(1), adhesion, height, slope of contact region)
  • Map and histogram are available for each analysis parameter
Analysis optimization
  • Integrated data browser with data preview
  • Various contact mechanics models (Hertz, Sneddon, DMT, 4-Sided Pyramid)
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