attoAFM I

cantilever-based atomic force microscope

alignment-free cantilever holder

tip exchange in less than 2 minutes

interferometric cantilever deflection detection

built-in amplitude gauge

closed loop scanning (optional)

easy retrieval of regions-of-interest


Cryogenic MFM

“Magnetic force microscopy: investigating the physics of racetrack-memory devices“ 

read the Physics World article featuring the pioneering research of Prof. Stuart Parkin 


The attoAFM I is a compact atomic force microscope designed particularly for applications at low and ultra low temperature, and in high magnetic fields. The instrument works by scanning the sample below a fixed cantilever and by measuring its deflection with highest precision using a fiber based optical interferometer. This deflection detection technique has the advantage that it comes with a built-in length gauge for the cantilever oscillation amplitude, since the interferometer contrast is directly proportional to the laser wavelength. Both contact and noncontact mode are applicable.

It is mainly employed for magnetic force microscopy (MFM) such as vortex imaging on superconductors or magnetic domain imaging at variable temperature, and for piezo-response force microscopy (PFM) on ferroelectrics and multiferroics. Other supported AFM measurement modes include Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM), conductive AFM (c-AFM), electric force microscopy (EFM), and other imaging modes. For more information, please have a look at our microscopy fundamentals.

The rigid design of the microscope module allows also for combinations with cryogen free pulse-tube based cooling systems for applications where liquid helium is not available or desired. The microscope uses a set of xyz-positioners for coarse positioning of the sample over a range of several mm, and dedicated mechanically amplified piezo based xyz scanners with a very large scan range even at cryogenic temperatures. Optionally, the attoAFM I is available with a interferometric encoders for xy closed loop scanning. Being made from non-magnetic materials, the microscope is ideally suited for low temperature MFM and PFM in combination with high magnetic fields.

Last but not least, due to the open signal architecture of our powerful and flexible ASC500 SPM controller, the needs of experts are addressed to have control over all signals, while maintaining a very user-friendly software interface that also supports measurement routines based on LabVIEW scripts. All in- and output signals are accessible via front panel BNCs, and can hence easily be monitored, stored and used for additional control. For more info please refer to the fundamentals section.

Cryogenic Tablet


General Specifications
type of instrumentcantilever based AFM with interferometric deflection detection
sensor head specificsattoAFM I+ head feat. alignment-free cantilever holder, tip exchange in less than 2 minutes
alignment-free cantilever holder (default)compatible with PointProbe® Plus XY-Alignment Series by Nanosensors
conventional cantilever holder (optional)compatible with standard commercial cantilevers
Modes of Operation
imaging modescontact mode, non-contact mode, constant height, constant force
slope compensation2 axis scan plane correction
z feedbackPI feedback loop for amplitude modulation (AM), phase modulation (PM) or frequency modulation (FM) using included PLL, constant force
incl. standard techniquesAFM
optional upgradesMFM, KPFM, PFM, conductive-tip AFM
measured RMS z-noise (constant force @ 4 K, 5 ms pixel time)< 0.05 nm (expected for attoLIQUID), < 0.10 nm (expected for attoDRY), < 0.15 nm (guaranteed)
z deflection noise density< 3 pm/vHz (dependent on laser system)
lateral magnetic resolution< 20 nm (attoLIQUID)
< 50 nm (attoDRY)
z bit resolution @ 4 K57 pm at 15 µm scan range
Sample Positioning
total travel range5 x 5 x 4.8 mm³ (open loop)
step size0.05..3 µm @ 300 K, 10..500 nm @ 4 K
fine scan range50 x 50 x 24 µm³ @ 300 K, 30 x 30 x 15 µm³ @ 4 K (open loop)
closed loop scanningoptional
sample holderASH/QE/4CX quick-exchange sample holder with 8 electrical contacts, integrated heater with calibrated temperature sensor
Suitable Operating Conditions
temperature range1.5 K..300 K (dependent on cryostat); mK compatible setup available on request
magnetic field range0..15 T+ (dependent on magnet)
operating pressuredesigned for He exchange gas (vacuum compatible version down to 1E-6 mbar on request)
Suitable Cooling Systems
titanium housing diameter48 mm
bore size requirementdesigned for a 2" (50.8 mm) cryostat/magnet bore
compatible cryostatsattoDRY1000/1100/2100, attoLIQUID1000/2000/3000/5000
Compatibility with Electronics
scan controller and softwareASC500 (for detailed specifications please see attoCONTROL section)
laserLDM1300 laser/detector module (for detailed specifications please see attoCONTROL section)
Options and Upgrades
closed loop scanning & global sample coordinatesinterferometric encoders for scan linearization and closed loop sample navigation
ultra-large scan range upgrade80 x 80 µm² @ 300 K, 125 x 125 µm² @ 4 K
in-situ inspection opticstip/sample monitoring via in-situ LT-LED for illumination, mirrors, lenses and CCD camera (outside), field of view approx. 3 x 2 mm, resolution approx. 20 µm (depending on cryostat)
closed loop upgrade for coarse positionersresistive encoder, range 5 mm, sensor resolution approx. 200 nm, repeatability 1-2 µm
additional AFM head with manual alignmentconventional cantilever holder, compatible with standard commercial cantilevers
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Application Snippets

Customer Feedback

Dr. N. Andreeva

St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Russia

The attoAFM I is great for Piezo Response Force Microscopy of both large crystals and thin films because the microscope integrates flawlessly with external electronics and gives access to all the relevant signals. The system maintained regular weekly cooling cycles for a 2 year strech and still works great!