PRE-ORDERS NOW CLOSED
Thanks to all our pre-order supporters! We have begun production and we expect to ship the systems in December. We will keep you informed of any changes.
To those who missed out: the nGauge AFM will be available again in January 2017. Join our mailing list for all the latest.
The nGauge Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is the culmination of nearly 10 years of research and development at the University of Waterloo in Canada, with the support of DARPA. CMOS MEMS technology has been used to integrate all of the essential components of an AFM - the fine XYZ movement, and the nanoscale sensing - onto a single 1 mm x 1 mm chip. This removes the need for bulky high power control electronics, and laser alignment for vertical detection. This miniaturization has led to many benefits, including vibration immunity, higher speed and precision, lower drift, and significantly lower cost. Our goal is to make nanotechnology tools accessible to everyone.
"Zyvex Labs believes that the Scanning Probe Microscopes that ICSPI is developing with CMOS MEMS technology are extremely promising. Electronics and MEMS sensors have reduced cost and dramatically improved performance and reliability as they are miniaturized. We can attest as Beta testers, that ICSPI’s AFMs reliability is excellent, the cost and size are dramatically reduced, and their performance is beginning to rival much more expensive tools . We believe that there are multiple uses for ICSPI’s SPMs in our business." - Dr. John Randall, President Zyvex Labs
"The nGauge system is more compact than a conventional AFM, making it possible to perform nanometer-scale metrology in tight spaces or directly on top of large samples. These tools may find many applications in manufacturing environments." - Dr. Zoran Jandric, Research Staff, Seagate Research
“I have worked with ICSPI and their MEMS-based AFM technology for almost two years now and I can attest that that this technology is extremely reliable and can produce images that rival much larger and more expensive AFM systems. I believe that this technology has the potential to revolutionize in-line process metrology by allowing us to directly integrate AFMs into a wide variety of semiconductor manufacturing tools.” - Professor Michael Cullinan, University of Texas at Austin
|Max Scan Area||15x15um, 30x10um, or 60x0um*|
|Z Scanner Range||10um|
|Scan Speed||0.15 seconds per line|
|Mode of Operation||Non-Contact, Tapping Mode|
|Dynamic RMS Noise||<0.5nm|
|System Dimensions||70x90x75mm LxWxH|
|Sample Stage Area||70x42mm|
|Z Stage Travel||20mm|
|OS Requirements||Windows, OS X, Linux|
Meet US for a Demonstration
We will be scheduling demonstrations at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto in July and August. We will also be at the MRS Fall meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, November 27 - December 2, 2016. Bring your samples to test out our system. Contact us for more details.
If you're not able to visit us but want to know if the AFM will work for you, send us your samples and we'll image them for you.
+ How is nGauge different from a conventional AFM?
nGauge AFM chips are tiny moving machines called MEMS. These microscopic devices have moving parts capable of positioning an integrated tip with high precision in the X, Y, and Z directions. The AFM chips also integrate a piezoresistive sensor for measuring tip-sample interaction forces. Conventional AFMs use individual external X, Y, and Z piezoelectric scanners to position a separate tip using an external laser sensing system. See our Intro Blog or our Scaling Blog for more details.
+ How long does a tip last?
The tips have been shown to last for over 10,000 images without visible wear. More details can be found in this blog.
+ How do you replace the tip?
Unlike conventional AFMs where you would replace only the tip when it breaks or wears out, single-chip AFMs are fully integrated but designed to be disposable. If the chip were to break, simply swap the AFM chip out for a new one. This means that every time you replace the chip you get a brand new tip as well as fresh scanners and sensors. As new breakthroughs in chip design occur, you will always be able to stay up to date with the latest improvements in tip shape, scan range, scanner linearity, and sensor performance.
+ How much does it cost to replace the tip?
New AFM chips will sell for $250. Contact us for volume pricing.
+ What scanning modes are available?
The AFM operates in intermittent-contact (tapping) mode. This yields topography, phase, and error images. However, the manufacturing process used to make these AFM chips allows for the design of a large variety of exotic SPM modes. We already have some results for SThM, SMM, KPFM, and FM-AFM, and all chips have a conductive path to the tip which could support electrical sensing modes.
+ How fast does it scan?
Relatively flat samples allow scan speeds of up to 16Hz, meaning a 256x256 pixel image will take 16 seconds. Larger sample features require a larger controller effort and more time. A 256x256 pixel image of a typical DVD sample (100nm tall features on a 750nm pitch) takes about 2 minutes.
+ Can I image in liquid or vacuum?
These modes are not supported yet.