One of the most important components of an AFM is the probe. AFM probes are made of a chip or substrate, a cantilever, and a tip. Usually, these are manufactured in one piece of silicon (or silicon nitride, Si3N4), by MEMS manufacturing techniques. In this way a wafer (with 400 or more probes) is manufactured at one time, with reasonable reproducibility of probe characteristics across the probes.

 Probe showing the Cantilever susbtrate and tip

 

Design of typical AFM probe, showing the substrate, cantilever and tip (probe).

 

Importantly, nearly all probes are interchangeable, so it’s possible to use probes from different manufacturers in your instrument. Thus, there is a fairly competitive market in AFM probes, and you can find a variety of probes from value to high-cost offerings, and an enormous range of probes, with different coatings, and physical properties, suitable for a wide range of applications. There are so many different probes here, that it’s not worth listing them all, so this page just links to the manufacturers of probes that I know of. Some companies resell probes from other manufacturers,such distributors are listed on this page. But here I list only the manufacturers. The manufacturers are listed in no particular order.

 

AFM Probe Manufacturers

Bruker

www.brukerafmprobes.com

Bruker (until recently Veeco) manufacture a huge range of probes, as well as reselling probes from various other producers. They have many representatives, as well as selling direct in the U.S.

Applied NanoStructures

www.appnano.com

AppNano manufacture a wide range of standard and speciality probes- they are resold by various companies, and also sell direct

Nanoworld

www.nanoworld.com

Nanoworld manufacture a very large range of standard and speciality probes - resold by various companies. Also branded as nanosensors

Mikromasch

www.spmtips.com

Mikromasch manufacture a very wide range of probes, both standard and speciality. They sell direct and are re-sold

NT-MDT

www.ntmdt-tips.com
NT-MDT manufacture many standard and specialty probes, including with a wide range of coatings

Olympus

probe.olympus-global.com 

Olympus manufacture many “standard” and novel probes, including the biolever-often used for force spectroscopy. They do not sell their own probes, but they are sold by a large number of companies

Artech Carbon

SCDProbes.com

Artech Carbon make single-crystal diamond porbes, which are very sharp and wear-resistant. 

Team Nanotec

www.team-nanotec.de

Team Nanotec make a variety of specialist AFM probes, including metrology tips, high-aspect ratio probes, MFM probes, etc. They both sell direct and are re-sold

Asylum Research

www.asylumresearch.com

Asylum make various speciality probes of their own design, as well as reselling various other brands

Micro2Nano

www.micro2nano.com
Korean company, Micro2Nano manufacture tetra brand probes which are resold, and offer a custom probe service

Budget Sensors

budgetsensors.com
Budget Sensors manufacture a wide range of probes, including mix-and-match boxes. They have an online shop, and are resold

sQube

sqube.de

sQube manufacture a range of colloidal probe cantilevers, check their webpage for link to distributor

Kelvin Nanotechnologies

www.kelvinnanotechnology.com
Based on the campus of Glasgow University, Kelvin Nanotechnologies manufacture scanning thermal probes

NaugaNeedles

nauganeedles.com

Nauganeedles produce specialised probes with semiconductor nanowires grown from the end, useful for metrology and electrical applications

NuNano

www.nunano.com

Nunano is a Bristol (UK)-based startup specialising in SPM probe manufacture. Offer custom probe design.

Carbon Design Innovations

carbondesigninnovations.com

CDI manufacture AFM probes modified with carbon nanotubes on the tip

Smart Tip

www.smarttip.nl
Based in the Netherlands, Smart Tip make specialised probes, such as magnetic MFM probes

Novascan

www.novascan.com

Company that specialises in colloid probes and chemically modified probes

SCL-Sensor Tech.

www.sclsensortech.com

Company that specialises in self-sensing and self-actuating probes

 

Once again, distributors can be found here.

If I any have missed any manufacturers ,or made any other errors, please feel free to make suggestions, via the contact page.