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Nanosurf EasyScan 2 Atomic Force Microscope
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Standard Operating Procedures.
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Instrument set-up
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Assemble and collect all the hardware in the box together
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1. Connect cable A between camera and the controller video port.
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2. Connect cable B between microscope and the front port of the controller.
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3. Connect cable C between computer and the back port of the controller.
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Mount the probe
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4. Lay the probe holder on the bench upside down with the grove facing up.
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5. Apply a downward pressure to the holder to open up the spring clip. With the spring clip open, insert
the AFM chip into the groove. Release the holder to allow the spring clip hold the AFM chip.
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6. Slightly release the spring clip and push the AFM chip with tweezers to center it and make a good
contact with the groove.
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Mount the probe holder
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7. Insert the probe holder into the AFM head from top at an angle. Push gently forward, the lower the
probe holder.
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8. Check the position of the probe holder. The 3 precision ball mounts inside the AFM head should mate
with the probe holders underside groves.
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9. Place the AFM head on the sample stage and make sure the application is “off”, Place the assembly on
the vibration absorber stage.
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10. Roughly level the sample stage with 3 screws inside the head.
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Sample Mounting and Manual Approach
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1. Put on clean, disposable gloves.
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2. Mount the scan head onto the sample stage, then place assembly on vibration isolation stage. Make
sure application is off.
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3. Rough level the scan head by turning the three edge screws until bubble on top of head is roughly
centered within circle. Turning screws clockwise will raise the head; counterclockwise with lower it.
Maintain enough height to prevent contact with sample holder during sample loading, 3-5 cm.
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4. Secure the (dust free) sample to the sample holder by placing it on the adhesive coated side of a postit note that has been attached to the sample holder using only double sided tape. This process should be
completed far away from sample head/tip.
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5. Place sample holder onto sample stage and slide under scan head, avoiding contact with cantilever.
Bumping the cantilever may damage the tip. Be sure tip is centered above sample.
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5. Lower scan head by turning screws in small increments, ensuring that centering is maintained. This is
mostly done by turning two screws simultaneously for one turn (counterclockwise), then turning the
third screw one turn, repeating until tip is 1mm from sample surface. Keep an eye on tip distance while
adjusting screws to avoid contact between tip and sample; this will likely break the tip.
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Running the software
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Starting the software:
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Note: If the computer has never been used for AFM imaging, the software must first be installed. Insert
the software CD and follow the Setup instructions. Also, note that the drivers for connection with the
hardware will automatically be downloaded the first time the AFM will be switched on when connecting
the PC.
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1. Run the software by selecting start, all programs, Easyscan2, Nanosurf Easyscan
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Should any error messages be displayed at this stage, look into the trouble shooting section in the
Easyscan 2 manual.
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2. Upon successful start of the program, click on “Positioning” in the leftmost part of the screen. A real
time image should be displayed on the right side of the screen. Visual confirmation of the fact that the
tip correctly mounted and not damaged is given by the presence of a needle-like structure projecting
from the tip holder. If this structure is not present, the tip is almost certainly broken.
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Tip Positioning:
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1. Click the “Advance” button; this will cause the tip to lower onto the sample. You should see the tip’s
shadow appear on the screen and move towards the tip. IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure to advance the
tip in small increments; the tip MUST NOT touch the sample (i.e. the tip and its shadow should not touch
during this operation).
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Stop when the tip is separated from its shadow on the screen by about one centimeter.
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2. Select the Mode of operation depending on the type of tip selected (which is also specified on the
tip’s box).
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For Sicion-A, select Static force
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For ACL-A, select Tapping force
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3. Click on Approach. The computer should automatically lower the tip completely onto the sample.
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Imaging:
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1. Click the “imaging” button on the leftmost part of the screen.
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2. Before starting the scan (see next point), you can choose the initial values for Width (defaut:0.5),
Time Line (default 1.0 seconds), and Points per line (default: 256)
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3. Click on “Start” to begin scanning.
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4. Adjust the P-gain and I-gain values in order to produce a smooth graph. Typical values are 5000 for
the p-gain and 1000 for the I-gain.
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5. Adjust the x-slope value until it gets close to zero.
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6. Set the rotation value to 90 and repeat the previous step.
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Shutting down Atomic Force Microscope
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1. Stop scanning
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2. Retract cantilever as far as possible by auto-positioning software feature. Leave software running in
case needed for an unforeseen situation.
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3. Remove sample from stage
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4. Shut down software.
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5. Turn off power to controller
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6. Disconnect power cable, computer cable, scan head cable, video camera cable, and store in proper
pockets. Place controller in proper pocket.
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7. Remove scan head from stage and place in plastic case. Do not remove cantilever because of risk of
damage is substantial. Only change cantilevers as needed.
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8. Place scan head plastic case in proper pocket
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9. Reinstall the four cardboard spacers in the corners of the anti-vibration table and tighten hex bolts
approximately one quarter turn past tight. Do not over tighten.
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10. Shut down PC and store AFM cases in proper shelves.
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