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AFSEM – correlative SEM and AFM solutions

Fig. 1: Correlative analysis of bone collagen fibers with SEM and AFM
Fig. 1: Correlative analysis of bone collagen fibers with SEM and AFM

Our new Austrian partner GETec Micro­scopy pioneers in the correlative combination of AFM and SEM micro­scopy measurements. 

Fig. 2: Combination of AFM, SEM and nanoindentation in one system. A shows the SEM and B the corresponding AFM image
Fig. 2: Combination of AFM, SEM and nanoindentation in one system. A shows the SEM and B the corresponding AFM image

The AFSEM system is compatible with a broad range of commercially available electron microscopes like FEI, JEOL, Hitachi, Zeiss, Tescan and more. It expands your SEM capacities by the most common AFM measurement modes in no time and provides information on the topography, conductivity and the mechanical and magnetic properties of your sample. All the while, the full functionality of your SEM remains untouched.

Fig. 3: Combination of SEM and AFM on isolated graphene membranes and nano wires
Fig. 3: Combination of SEM and AFM on isolated graphene membranes and nano wires

Applications for this correlative AFM/SEM solution can be found in the most diverse fields. Physicians and biologists for example have examined the collagen structure of a bone with the correlative AFSEM and gained valuable information in osteoporosis research (see fig. 1). Another relevant topic is the nanoindentation of materials science samples and the subsequent analysis with SEM and AFM. This can all be done in an SEM, without the need for sample removal. Fig. 2A shows the corresponding SEM and 2B the corresponding AFM image. The AFSEM can also be used to examine nanomechanical properties of 2D materials and other nanostructures like for example nanowires. Fig. 3 shows the analysis of isolated graphene membranes: The SEM image enables the identification of the measurement area and the precise positioning of the cantilever tip on a free graphene membrane. The 3D topography of the membrane is captured with very high resolution.

The correlative idea behind AFSEM, which is the combination of complimentary microscopy methods, can also be realized at ambient conditions. This way, even difficult to reach samples can be analyzed in air in combination with classic optical or laser microscopes. 

Fig. 4: AFM setup for measurements on hard to reach workpieces
Fig. 4: AFM setup for measurements on hard to reach workpieces

Fig. 4 gives examples: topographic measurements on a gear box wheel and on wood.  

The versatility of the correlative ap­proach makes this measuring systems extremely powerful and allows new insights in a broad range of research fields.


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