MFP-3D Stand Alone Atomic Force Microscope from Asylum Research

Topics Covered

Technical Innovations
MFP-3D Head - Low noise, Eliminates Interference
MFP-3D XY Scanner - Precision and Accuracy Unlike Any Tube Scanner
MFP-3D Base
All-Digital Controller and Software
Asylum Research – Science First
Personalized, Exceptional Support
Take the Asylum Challenge


The Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), has been the instrument of choice for three dimensional measurements at the nanometer scale. With the MFP-3D Stand Alone (MFP-3D-SA) AFM, scientists can now choose a sensitive and precise AFM with the lowest noise performance that also includes a complete scientific software environment. The MFP-3D-SA is ideal for many applications including physics, material science, polymers, chemistry, nanolithography, bioscience, and quantitative nanoscale measurements. The MFP-3D has the flexibility to acquire your data, analyze it, and even make publication-ready graphics. Your imagination is your only limit.

Technical Innovations

  1. Designed with sensored, closed loop positioning to give image clarity, accuracy, and reproducibility.
  2. Designed with an all-digital controller and open software adaptability to meet the demands of your research.
  3. Designed with advanced features built-in such as nanolithography and 3D rendering.
  4. Exclusive Dual AC Mode™. In Dual AC Mode, the cantilever is driven at or near two of its resonant vibrational modes or frequencies. The amplitude and phase signals for these two modes show striking contrast on a variety of samples.

MFP-3D Head - Low Noise, Eliminates Interference

Sensored optical lever with diffraction limited optics and a low coherence light source virtually eliminates interference artifacts. The NPS™ sensored Z axis provides precise measurements of the cantilever position for accurate force and topography measurements. An optional Extended Head allows for a 40µm Z range.

The MFP-3D head uses a patent-pending, low noise, position sensitive detector (NPS™) to control the exact position of the cantilever. It corrects for piezo hysteresis and creep that are typical with commercial tube scanners. The NPS uses a proprietary, low noise, inductive sensor that eliminates the Barkhausen noise that limits traditional inductive LVDT sensors. NPS noise figures are < 0.3 nm Adev in Z in a 10 second measurement, and in a 1kHz bandwidth.

In the most common type of detection (optical lever), a light source, typically a laser beam, is bounced off the back of the cantilever to a photodiode. The noise in this detector determines the smallest forces between the cantilever and sample that can be measured. The MFP-3D uses a low coherence light source that minimizes the optical interference.

MFP-3D XY Scanner - Precision and Accuracy Unlike Any Tube Scanner

The MFP-3D uses a flexured scanner and patent-pending NPS Nanopositioning sensors which measure the exact position of each axis (X & Y). They correct for hysteresis and creep, providing flat scans and the ability to accurately zoom and offset with one mouse click.

The MFP-3D scanner uses a sensored, two-dimensional flexure to scan the sample in the X and Y axes (and a separate flexure to move the cantilever in the Z axis in the MFP-3D head). The use of separate position sensors allow real time correction of piezo behavior (usually referred to as closed loop operation), or used to simply measure the piezo motion with the sensor and make corrections after the measurement is completed.

This design has definite advantages over tube scanners. One problem with tube scanners is cross coupling where motion along one direction causes unwanted motion in other directions. Because the tube scanner relies on bending motion of the tube, as the sample moves along the X direction, it also moves along the Z axis. This parasitic motion can cause a distortion of the apparent sample shape. For lateral motion, (for example, unwanted motion in Y while scanning in X), cross coupling can distort the shape and dimensions of features on the sample surface. Flexure-based devices provide a means of reducing or even eliminating unwanted parasitic motion. They can also be designed with a high degree of orthogonality, allowing undistorted, orthogonal imaging of features.

In addition, our patent-pending NPS LVDT sensor is the most quiet in the industry. The NPS uses a proprietary, low noise, inductive sensor that eliminates the Barkhausen noise that limits traditional inductive LVDT sensors. NPS noise figures are < 0.3 nm Adev in Z, <0.6 nm Adev in X and Y, in a 10 second measurement, and in a 1kHz bandwidth.

MFP-3D Base

Three configurations for illuminating and viewing your sample.

  • Top view for opaque samples.
  • Bottom view for transparent samples.
  • Dual view for both viewing options.

The MFP-3D-SA Base is available in three different models—a top view, bottom view and dual view.

All feature bright field microscopy with Kohler illumination, adjustable aperture and field diaphragm, remote 150W light source coupled via fiber bundle, dual 1/4" CCD’s with 720µm and 240µm fields of view; integrated scanning and interconnect board, and rigid low-vibration construction.

  • Top View: Uses infinity-corrected Mitutoyo objective in Top View head for imaging of opaque samples at 3µm resolution.
  • Bottom View: For transparent samples only. Default configuration is 10x/0.25 infinity-corrected objective. Others available upon request.
  • Dual View Base: Combines features of Top and Bottom View, with switchable shutters. Allows for transmitted light in either direction.

All-Digital Controller and Software

All-digital configuration allows virtually the entire system operation to be controlled through the MFP software interface (IGOR Pro) for easy addition of new microscope capabilities.

  • 100% digital for low noise, fast operation, and flexibility
  • Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
  • Fast analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog conversions

What Kind of User Are You?

Built-in Features


  • ModeMaster™ - A library of standard and user-defined operation modes such as AC, Contact, Phase, EFM, LFM, Force Mode, Nanolithography
  • Savant™ - Turns complex tasks into a single mouse click
  • SmartStart™ - Auto configures any peripheral that interfaces with the controller for plug and play operation
  • 25+ megapixel resolution


  • MicroAngelo™ - Nanolithography and manipulation
  • ARgyle™ - 3D rendering both on and offline
  • Channel Overlay – Overlay data such as EFM or phase channel on topography


  • IGOR Command and macro language at your disposal
  • DSPDirector™ allows direct access to the DSP for custom experiments (optional)
  • Edit and create your own Savant routines
  • Software control of signal routing through crosspoint switch


  • Material Science
  • Devices
  • Life Science
  • Lithography

Asylum Research – Science First

Asylum Research was founded by scientists with the simple goal of creating the world’s best research instrumentation for other scientists. Whether your applications are in materials science, life science, polymers, nanolithography, electrical or magnetic measurements, Asylum Research has raised the bar for Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) performance

Personalized, Exceptional Support

Once you begin your research, our staff scientists are here to help you get the most out of your MFP-3D. We extend this personalized support by being virtually in your lab with “OnSight” – a remote support system that lets us view, diagnose and control your system over the Internet. Our easy, secure, web-based system enables shared screen, mouse and keyboard control of your AFM, making it ideal for training and troubleshooting.

Take the Asylum Challenge

We challenge you to look at our AFM back to back with any other in the world. If for any reason you are not satisfied within the first six months of ownership, we will refund your money. Call us today to schedule a demo to see why your next AFM should be an MFP-3D.

For the full text brochure and detailed specifications, download the PDF copy of the MFP-3D-SA brochure.

Source: MFP-3D™ Stand Alone Atomic Force Microscope Power and Flexibility in One Complete System from Asylum Research

For more information on this source please visit Asylum Research

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