See video demonstrations of Asylum Research's highest resolution, fast scanning atomic force microscopes with environmental control. The following videos show Cypher's unique capability to provide a combination of unmatched productivity and the most accurate results, even in the most extreme conditions.

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Fast scanning: Sublimation of an anthracene crystal in air

(5 µm scan size, 192×192 pixels, height images in tapping mode at 20.8 Hz line rate, ~9 s per frame). Crystal terraces 0.9 nm high are observed moving at velocities of about 20 nm/s as the material sublimates, with step edges often becoming pinned at defects in the crystal (e.g., the edge that comes to a point at the defect marked with the green arrow). The edge begins to taper away from this defect in the second image but remains pinned, then pulls away from it in the third image. Many of the defects persist for duration of the movie. However, in the fourth image we see a defect that finally disappears. The full movie shows the surface evolution over three hours but is played back in one minute.


Fast scanning: Surface reconstruction of a calcite crystal face

(2 µm scan size,  512×512 pixels, height images in tapping mode at 40 Hz line rate, ~13 s per frame). The surface of a freshly cleaved calcite crystal in humid air reconstructs on a time scale of minutes to hours. The reconstruction is known to be water driven, but there is still speculation about the structure and composition of the film. Besides demonstrating the ability to capture dynamics, this movie also nicely illustrates the exceptionally low Z noise floor of Cypher, because the initial calcite steps are only about 300 pm tall. The full movie shows the reconstruction over a period of nearly five hours but is played back in about thirty seconds.


Fast scanning: High speed PFM on periodically poled lithium niobate sample

(3 µm scan size, 256×256 pixels, phase images measured in PFM mode at 39 Hz line rate, ~6.5 s per frame). The test sample shown in this video consists of an alternating pattern of oppositely poled stripe domains with a pitch of 10 µm. Just before the second image, a short (~0.5 s), high-voltage (-100 V) pulse was applied to the sample, distorting the domain boundary. An applied bias was then gradually increased, starting at 0 V and ending at 30 V, during which the domain boundary begins to recover to its original state. The full movie shows three sequences of this cycle.


Environmental control: Melting and recrystallization of sPP-PS polymer film

Cypher ES makes temperature control easy over a wide 0–250°C range

Two temperature control stages are available for the Cypher ES. The heater stage controls the sample temperature up to 250°C in gas environments. The cooler-heater stage enables sample temperatures from 0°C to 100°C in both gas and liquid environments.


No other AFM controls sample temperature this easily

Fully sealed sample chamber can be purged with gas during imaging. For instance, flow an inert gas to prevent oxidation at high temperatures, or a dry gas to prevent condensation at low temperatures, or operate in a liquid droplet surrounded by saturated vapor to avoid net evaporation.

  • Low-drift design allows large temperature changes while maintaining the same imaging area
  • All operating modes supported by the Cypher ES are compatible with the temperature control stages
  • Temperature is controlled through software, manually or programmatically (e.g. ramp and soak cycles)
  • Passive heat transfer and insulation eliminate the need for heat exchange liquids and pumps
  • No external control boxes or other modules are required. No extra clutter or complexity


Environmental control: Crystal growth in liquid solution

The Cypher ES is the only AFM with fully sealed liquid cell that can be pressure tested

Crystal growth at a screw dislocation in calcite imaged in tapping mode with blueDrive, 500 nm scans. Calcium carbonate growth solution was perfused through the Cypher ES liquid perfusion cell while images were captured at high speed. The sequence here shows only about 30 seconds of the 45 minute experiment.


Environmental control: SEBS polymer film annealing in toluene vapor

Toluene rapidly degrades the materials most often usen in o-rings and other seals. However, the Cypher ES membrane is made from an advanced fluoropolymer that withstands a wide range of chemicals.


Quick and easy setup with SpotOn™


  • Fully motorized laser and detector alignment
  • Click on the cantilever and the laser is aligned
  • Automated detector adjustment

See how easy it is to GetStarted™ 


  • Automatically sets optimal parameters for tapping mode imaging, including drive amplitude, setpoint, gain, scan rate
  • Predictive algorithm is more robust than iterative optimization approaches that diverge to slow scan rates and high forces
  • Produces high-quality data from the very first scan line—no tip or sample damage while waiting for “scan optimization”


Exclusive blueDrive™ reinvents tapping mode

Tapping is the most commonly used AFM mode because it can measure not just topography, but also mechanical, electrical, and magnetic properties. blueDrive uses light (photothermal excitation) instead of a piezo to drive the cantilever oscillation. Unlike a tapping piezo, blueDrive acts directly on the cantilever and does not excite any other system resonances. blueDrive tunes are clean, stable, and closely match the theoretical response.

"AFM Imaging and Nanomechanics with New blueDrive™ Photothermal Excitation"


Go to recorded webinar > 
(This webinar was first presented live on March 20, 2014)


Have a drink on us at the French SPM meeting next week. Julien Lopez and Raphael Barbattini. Email julien.lopez@oxi…
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