Fully automated AFM integrated with Inverted Light Microscope for biological research


General information

LIFE is Atomic Force Microscope with XYZ scanning measuring head compatible with inverted optical microscope with NA 0.55 condensers. It is used for biological and medical researches in physiological conditions. 


AFM and ILM integration

Integration of two powerful research instruments is usually a point of compromise. ILM functionality is often obstructed by AFM integration in terms of either optical methods available or limited condenser aperture.

The LIFE is not the case. The whole variety of powerful ILM methods (dark field, phase contrast, fluorescence imaging, etc.) is still available with LIFE. It is compatible with 0.55 NA ILM condens¬ers and ready for integration with Olympus IX71/IX81, Zeiss Axio Observer, Nikon Ti. Integration with other ILMs is available up on request.


6 scanning axes

PX Pro controller allows closed loop operation with up to 6 scanning axes. Basic XYZ scanning is done by the probe and provided by decoupled flexure stage. In addition, either 100 μm XY stage or 100 μm Z stage can be installed into the base of the unit. One of scanning axis is kept for the ILM objective scanner.


ectDrive cantilever excitation system

Amplitude modulation AFM modes are of great importance for investigation of soft biological speci¬mens. Because of the low Q-factor of the cantilever and complex mechanical design of cantilever/sample holders, a number of spurious resonances of the cantilever occur making it difficult to operate in AM-AFM modes in liquid.

The LIFE uses the specially developed DirectDrive cantilever excitation system that allows to avoid these problems and to get clear cantilever resonance curve. Corresponding cantilever holder is completely disassemble and washable, that allows to hold high level of cleanness during experiments.


Automation and precision

The LIFE is a fully automated AFM. Automation of laser-cantilever-photodiode optical chain alignment is very convenient for operation in liquid, where such alignment is quite tricky usually. Automated XY sample positioning table provides fast, precise and easy sample positioning. In addition, the XY sample table can be equipped with optical encoders that allows precise scanning of up to ~ mm field with AFM. The specially designed LIFE measuring head lifting mechanism makes sample/cantilever exchange much easier compare to other commercial biological AFMs.


Panoramic optical view, MultiScan and ScanStitch

The Nova PX software provides many features based on high automation level of the LIFE. Panoramic optical view allows collection of high resolution, large scale images of the sample and then operation with these data is the same as one operates with interactive maps. Multiscan and ScanStitch provide easy acquisition of scans with ~ mm scan size and overlay AFM scans with the optical image.


Fluid cell

The LIFE perfusion fluid cell provides precise sample temperature control in the range from 10 to 60 0C. It operates with standard glass bottom Petri dishes or regular microscopy cover glasses. Careful selection of materials cell made from allows keeping high pureness of the experiment. All fluid cells parts are fully washable.


DirectDrive cantilever holder and glass block


Closed perfusion liquid cell. Temperature range 10 .. 60oC


With its wide variety of techniques and modes of probe measurements, the Bio AFM LIFE  is applicable for many challenges in life science and biotechnology.

  • Molecular and cellular biology research
  • Live cell research
  • Microbiology and virus research
  • Cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions
It can be used to study of living cells, organelles and bimolecular systems in physiological conditions. Atomically-sharp probes of an AFM can be used as a tool for local treatments and single cell nanosurgery.

 It can be applied in biology, medical and pharmaceutical research and the food industry. 

  • Tissue growth and physiology studies
  • Targeted Drug delivery mechanisms
  • Coatings or powders in air or liquid

Solution exchange and temperature control are optional items that can be provided. The AFM integrated with an optical microscope is a powerful multi technique platform for biological and medical scientific research.


Measuring modes and techniques

Contact AFM, Amplitude Modulation AFM, AFM spectroscopy, AFM lithography (force, voltage), Raster Spring Imaging, LFM, FMM, PFM and Switching Spectroscopy, EFM, Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy, MFM.

ILM compatibility

  • Zeiss Axio Observer: Axio Observer
  • Olympus: IX product line
  • Nikon: TE 200, Ti

AFM measuring head

  • CL scan range: X,Y 100 × 100 μm, Z 20 μm
  • Linearity: 0.03%
  • OBD sensor alignment: automated
  • OBD sensor laser wavelength: 850 nm

Fluid cell

  • Perfusion and gas flow: available
  • Temperature range: 10 .. 60°C
  • Temperature control accuracy: 0.1°C

Motorized stage

  • Sample positioning range: 20 × 20 mm
  • Measuring head positioning range: 3 × 3 mm
  • Min step: 0.3 μm
  • Optical encoders: available up on request

Replaceable sample scanning stages

  • XY CL scanning range: 100 × 100 μm
  • Z CL scanning range: 100 μm

Objective scanner

  • CL scanning range: 100 μm