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Agilent Technologies Introduces Next-Generation Atomic Force Microscope

Published on April 14, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced the availability of a next-generation atomic force microscope (AFM) that can excel in both the laboratory and the classroom. The new Agilent 5420 AFM, based on Agilent's popular 5400 platform, is a high-precision instrument that has been re-engineered to deliver lower noise, better performance and greater versatility.

"A new ergonomic design, lower-noise electronics and improved visual optics are among the key features that make the 5420 a powerful, easy-to-use tool for a wide range of materials science, polymers, electrical characterization and general surface characterization applications," said Jeff Jones, operations manager for Agilent's AFM facility in Chandler, Ariz. "This scientific-grade AFM delivers atomic-scale resolution at a very competitive price, as well as providing a simple upgrade path."

The Agilent 5420 offers educators an exceptional opportunity to introduce their students to many useful AFM techniques; the microscope will be delivered with an undergraduate course curriculum and samples for teaching labs. Several performance-enhancing options are available for the 5420, including an open-loop and closed-loop X-Y & Z 90 micron scanner, a 9 micron open-loop scanner, and a 10 micron STM scanner, each engineered to provide optimum control over probe position.

For high-resolution imaging in liquid, Agilent's patented MAC Mode is available. Precision thermal control can be added as well. The Agilent 5420 is also compatible with MAC Mode III, which provides three user-configurable lock-in amplifiers to afford virtually limitless application possibilities, unprecedented speed and the ability to use higher resonance modes of the cantilever.

Another option for the 5420 is electrical single-pass microscopy mode, a new low-noise technique that enables high-resolution KFM/EFM and PFM. This mode allows users to customize signal routing between the MAC Mode III lock-in amplifiers, providing more advanced multifrequency scanning.

The 5420 is also compatible with Agilent's unique scanning microwave microscopy (SMM) mode, which combines the compound, calibrated electrical measurement capabilities of a microwave vector network analyzer with the nanoscale spatial resolution of an atomic force microscope. SMM Mode outperforms traditional AFM-based scanning capacitance microscopy techniques, offering greater application versatility, the ability to acquire quantitative results, and the highest sensitivity and dynamic range in the industry.

Agilent's new 5420 AFM features the same state-of-the-art scanners, controller and software used by Agilent's entire line of field-proven atomic force microscopes. Popular Agilent AFM systems include the sophisticated Agilent 5500, which offers industry-leading environmental control, as well as the versatile Agilent 5600LS, which enables AFM imaging of both large and small samples on a fully addressable, highly programmable 200mm stage.

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