This article contains a list of all the software freely available to manipulate data from Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM), that is, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), and Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM). It does not include software designed only to load one particular format, i.e. the software provided by the instrument manufacturers, unless they are able to open other formats. It is intended to summarise the third party software available. It does not compare the quality of the software, and the order is entirely arbitrary. If you know of other software available, let me know. I do know there are two other lists of SPM software[This one and This one], although neither seem to be updated.
This list is an updated version of that which appeared in my book:"Atomic Force Microscopy", OUP, 2010, with Paul West.
List of Third Party SPM Software
Freely available, open source software for manipulation of SPM files; supports very many formats, contains many analysis tools. Available for Linux, Windows and MAC OS. Frequently updated. Available here. (http://www.gwyddion.net)
This package loads all of the major formats of SPM files. It is very complete,a and produces nice data analysis, including an unusual "report" format of data analysis. Commercial software, but a downloadable demo version is available. Recently merged with SPIP, which was itself extremely popular, into MountainsSPIP 8. DigitalSurf's "Mountains" package also analyses profiler and SEM data.
More details here. (https://www.digitalsurf.com/software-solutions/scanning-probe-microscopy/)
Freely available software that supports many SPM file formats; and has many analysis tools. I personally like a lot the 3D rendering results from WSxM. It was originally developed by an AFM manufacturer for use with their instrument, but is now completely independent and supports very many other file formats. Unlike many third party programs, has support for force curves as well. Frequently updated. Available here. (http://www.wsxm.es/)
Commercial software from a manufacturer, but loads lots of (about 20) other formats. 30-days trial has no functional limitations. English and Russian user interface. It seems to be quite capable software, if a little cryptic. Available here. (http://www.nanoscopy.net/en/Femtoscan-D.php)
Commercial software, dedicated to analysis of force curves, supports several formats. Implements several of the common analysis techniques used for force spectroscopy, and nanoindentation data. Also supports force volume images. A licence must now be purchased to use it. Available here. (http://punias.free.fr/)
Freely available, open-source software, with versions for Windows, Mac and Linux. Like PUNIAs, this software concentrates on batch processing of force curves. Opens a small number of common file formats. Seems quite complete, and delivers thoroughly summarised results. Available here, and described in this paper.
Carpick Lab’s Software Toolbox
Some Matlab scripts to help with nanotribology research - i.e. friction measurements with the AFM. They are for Nanoscope files only. Available here. (http://nanoprobenetwork.org/software-library/welcome-to-the-carpick-labs-software-toolbox) (last time I checked this page had been "temporarily" taken down)
A version of NIH Image that has been extended to handle the loading, display and analysis of scanning microscope images. Seems to be able to open lots of file formats, but only works on MAC, so I've never tried it. Available here. (http://www.liv.ac.uk/~sdb/ImageSXM/)
Cross-platform image analysis program, not specifically designed for SPM images, but there are plugins to load MI or Nanoscope files here. I don't find it's often very useful, but some people use it, and it does have some useful functions, for e.g. particle counting. Available here. (http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/)
This is a cross-platform (Linux, with a Windows port) open-source package that not only analyses data, but runs hardware, too. I haven't tried it. More details here.AFM format support. Commercial software, a licence must be bought for extended use. More details here. (http://www.truegage.com)
OpenFovea is a program for analysis of force-volume files, i.e. AFM files containing spatially-resolved force curves. It is a Linux-native program with a Windows version also available. I have not tried this software. More details here. (http://www.freesbi.ch/en/openfovea)
New (2016) package that aims to allow analysis of data from a very wide range of different microscopy methods including AFM / SPM. The program is available as a package for the Python programming language, meaning it's necesssary to install a verison of Python before you can use it. More details here: (https://pycroscopy.github.io/pycroscopy/about.html)
Software that's no longer maintained
Recently discontinued commercial software for manipulation of SPM files; supports very many formats, contains many analysis tools. Also allows analysis of force curves in several formats. Has a purchase price, but a time-limited demonstration version is available. Frequently updated. Following acquisition of imagemet by digital surf, SPIP has been merged with the MountainsMap package and now it's called MountainsSPIP.
MIDAS 98Program for deconvolution of AFM files. No longer updated. Appears to only open nanoscope files. Available here.
n-SurfFreeware program to open display and manipulate SPM files. It seems to have most of the common functions, but opens Veeco and NT-MDT only, and appears to be still in beta, and last updated in 2005. The website is available at www.n-surf.com.
SPM Image Magic
Note: I welcome comments/suggestions for these lists, please contact me via the "contact" page.
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My name is Peter Eaton, and I have been working with Atomic Force Microscopy for more than 20 years. I am currently an Instrument Scientist at The Bridge, in the University of Lincoln, UK. I am the co-author (with Paul West of AFMWorkshop) of the book Atomic Force Microscopy, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. I have collaborated with researchers in the UK, France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, the USA and Germany in AFM. I have taught AFM around the globe, and am the coordinator of the well-known Porto AFM Training Workshop (running from 2011 onwards).
In addition to development of research and education in Atomic Force Microscopy, my interests include:
Antimicrobial peptides derived from amphibians
A complete list of my research papers can be found along with my academic CV here. I have co-authored more than 90 scientific works.
I am happy to collaborate scientifically in interesting projects or carry out scientific consultancy in the field of atomic force microscopy.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Atomic Force Microscopy
by Peter Eaton
This FAQ was originally created for clients of the AFM, i.e. those whose samples I scan.
However, it's grown a lot, and should also answer many questions of people planning to use the AFM themselves, or researching the technique. Its contents include a description of AFM suitability to various samples, sample preparation, tips for scanning and data processing, and a short bibliography. There is also a guide to recognising artifacts in AFM.
All the material here is discussed in greater detail in the book "Atomic Force Microscopy".
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I hope that this page is useful for AFM users, especially those who inherited older instruments that have become spearated
- TT2-AFM manual v2.3 - This .pdf file is the user manual for AFMWorkshop's 2nd gen TT-AFM , i.e. "Table-Top AFM"
- LS-AFM Manual v1.1 - This user manual is for AFMWorkshop's "Life Sciences AFM". This covers the AFM instrument, there may be a separate manual for the optical microscope from AFM Workshop if you have a copy of that one, please send it to me
- HR-AFM Manual - This .pdf file is the user manual for AFMWorkshop's "High Resolution AFM" instrument. Unlike the TT2 manual, it covers use of the v4.x software
- B-AFM Manual v1.0 - This is the user maual for the B-AFM from AFMWorkshop
Asylum Research (now Oxford Instruments)
- MFP 3D User Guide V13 - This is the .pdf file of the user guide for the MFP 3D Bio-AFM from Asylum which was since aquired by Oxford Instruments
- Cypher User Guide - This is the User guide for the Cypher "small sample AFM", from Asylum
- NWS User guide - This is the .pdf file of the user g uide for the NWS (NanoWorkshop) softwar euse dby Nanonics
- MV4000 user guide - This is the user guide (pdf) for theNanonics multiview 4000 AFM/SPM system. These systems are very unusual in supporting multiple probes scanning the sample at the same time (up to four I think).
- Nanoscope Software 6.13 User Guide - This .pdf file is the user manual for the nanoscope software interface for any microscope using a nanoscope controller, i.e. the popular multimode and dimension instruments. This version is compatible with Windows XP latest.
- Multimode Instruction Manual v4.31 - This is a .pdf version of the instruction manual for the multimode microscope. This is based on a rather old version of the software (in DOS windows). Note that for these DI instruments, the controller and microscope have spearate manuals.
JPK (now a part of Bruker)
- Nanowizard User Manual - This .pdf file is the user manual for JPK (now Bruker) Nanowizard bio-AFM instruments. THis covers the version 6.0 software. As far as I know this means instruments up to Nanowizard 4. Covers hardware, control software and analysis functions.
- Agilent 5500 User Guide revB - This .pdf is the user guide for the Agilent 5500 microscope, which I think used to be called the PicoPlus before it becasme an Agilent instrument
A Practical Guide to Scanning Probe Microscopy - This is a .pdf file of the SPM practical guide, which I beleive was first made by TopoMetrix, this is the Thermomicroscopes version. This is a very old document, but contains a lot of helpful information for AFM users, still. Not an instrument manual, it's a simple guide to the general principles of how an AFM works. If you read this and want something more in-depth, I reccomend this book!
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