nGauge Shipment Updates
Our team at ICSPI has been busy finalizing the hardware design for the December pre-order shipment. We have improved the design of the coarse approach mechanism, extending the length of the base, enabling imaging for larger and heavier samples. Mechanical testing of our stage shows that we are able to approach and retract over 20,000x without any signs of wear or failure. We are now waiting on the production level stages to arrive so that we can begin assembling our product.
The CMOS used to create our AFMs have also arrived. We are trying various new approaches to fabricate even sharper and more robust tips than advertised before we ship our pre-order deliveries. This way, our users can enjoy imaging their samples with an even greater lateral resolution. Stay tuned for tip sharpness updates.
Once our procedures for tip sharpness are completed, we will begin to release and package these devices for easy tip swapping and handling.
In the quality assurance department, we've been putting our first generation production-ready AFM designs to the test to make sure that they will function robustly in the hands of the end user. We are able to routinely obtain images of a HOPG surface with no adjustments to the automated settings; all it takes is 3 minutes and a few clicks before you can get similar imaging performance to what is seen below.
Seen above is a 7.5 x 7.5 um scan of the HOPG with a 512 x 512 pixel resolution. We can see single nanometer step heights across the flaky material. However, to see even more features, we've implemented an arbitrary zoom feature. You can simply highlight a box anywhere within your image, and scan again to get a more in depth view of your sample. For example, we highlight a smaller 2 x 2 um area in the bottom corner of the initial scan. Another 512 x 512 pixel image is captured to reveal more features. This way, we're able to hone in on any particular features of interest for more study.
We are continually refining and testing our software, as well as adding many additional features before our December shipment.
Future of nGauge
We have begun some experimentation with vacuum imaging using the same hardware and AFM chips that will be delivered to our pre-order customers in December. While we will not have software that fully supports vacuum imaging with the initial release, our early stage testing confirms that we may be able to do automated approaches, and imaging in a 1 mTorr environment.
In addition, we will be in Boston between November 27th and December 2nd for the Materials Research Society Conference. Bring your samples and we'll image them on the spot.
To learn about pricing, availability and other exciting news, please join our mailing list. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us.