7 Advantages of Owning an AFM


Atomic Force Microscopes have become indispensible tools for scientific research and quality assurance. The high resolution nanoscale imaging capabilities of the AFM allow for measurements in surface quality, critical dimensions, and tiny features that no other microscopes can resolve. They also generate nice images for your papers. However, most labs can't afford to buy one and users are forced to share equipment, find a user-facility or test lab, or forego their measurements altogether. Fortunately, the versatility and affordability of the nGauge AFM makes it possible for every lab to own an AFM, and fit it easily into any lab environment. Here are 7 reasons why it's better to have an AFM in your own lab.    

1. Make your own schedule

If you purchase your own equipment, you can use it whenever you want. You aren't restricted to a user-facility's hours, a technician's availability, or equipment bookings that may need to be created days or weeks in advance. YOU get to decide when to use the instrument.

2. Minimize the costs of your measurements

User facilities charge a lot to use their equipment. Academic users can expect to pay $25-$75 per hour and industry users can be charged $100-$200 per hour for AFM use. It doesn't take long before an nGauge AFM pays for itself.

User facility fees. AFM time at a user-facility can range from $25-$75 per hour for academics and $100-$200 per hour for industry.

User facility fees. AFM time at a user-facility can range from $25-$75 per hour for academics and $100-$200 per hour for industry.

3. Customize your equipment

Sometimes you need to modify your equipment to run an experiment or to accommodate different samples. A shared facility often doesn't allow you to change any of the instrument parameters. However, if you own your own AFM, you can add or remove parts, integrate the tool into another instrument, or modify it any way you want.

4. Keep experiments in your own lab

When a shared space or test facility is located far away, transporting or shipping your samples may compromise their quality and affect your results. They may be exposed to different environmental conditions, they may be physically damaged, or the sample quality may just degrade over time. In any case, it is important to take your measurements promptly and under controlled conditions to obtain the highest quality images. What better way than to use your very own AFM?

5. Save time

Nobody wants to wait for results. User facility tools can be booked up for days, and if you ship your samples to a test facility it may take over a week to get your measurements. An AFM located right in your lab can give you immediate results.

6. Image your own samples

Who knows your samples better than you? If some technician is testing your samples, they may not know what to look for, and they may miss some aspects that are critically important to you. With your own AFM, you can image your samples yourself so that you get exactly the results you are looking for.

7. Income Generation

When you own an AFM, you can charge others for using it! At the standard user-facility rates, the instrument will quickly pay for itself.


The nGauge AFM is a new paradigm in microscopy. The low cost and ease of operation have made this powerful nanotechnology tool accessible to everyone, and in every lab environment. No longer do you have to wait your turn, or transport your samples to another lab, or even alter your own experiments to suit the instrument. Image your samples the way they should be imaged, directly, freely, and efficiently, by owning your own nGauge AFM.