NT-MDT at the MRS exhibition in Boston, USA


NT-MDT Co. participated in the very well established exhibition of research equipment that accompanies the annual conference of the International Materials Research Society (Materials Research Society, MRS). The conference was held from 25th to 30th of November in Boston, USA. Because modern materials affect almost all areas of human activity, the conference usually attracts wide interest among scientists, industry and government organizations. 

Traditionally, most of the key manufactures of probe microscopes present their latest achievements at the exhibition, held in conjunction with the conference.

NT-MDT’s presentation, was impressive as ever. For the first time the public was introduced to two completely new devices - SPECTRUM and OPEN, and a completely overhauled version of NEXT.

SPECTRUM is a powerful system that includes a wide range of scanning probe microscopy and optical microscopy / spectroscopy methods.

Four probe holders of SPECTRUM allow STM and AFM measurements (including measurements in liquid) with different types of probe sensors, micromechanical and tuning fork, using almost all the known methods and techniques in the wide spectrum of scanning probe microscopy.

SPECTRUM also provides a great opportunity of optical measurements, including wide field microscopy, confocal microscopy and spectroscopy, including Raman and near-field optical microscopy.

The possibility of optical measurements simultaneously with probe measurements is a distinctive feature of the complex SPECTRUM construction; this provides not only an additive, but a synergistic effect. For instance the sensors can be SNOM probes or any AFM probe, or a probe that incorporates both features (AFM and SNOM) simultaneously. By incorporating Raman spectroscopy which opens the possibility enhancing the scattering light by probe tip, called the TERS spectroscopy, the system provides simultaneously probing the chemical properties at nanoscale.

All of the above make SPECTRUM a unique system, which was also confirmed by winning the R&D 100 award.

OPEN, the second new device presented at the exhibition, is an AFM / STM measurement system. It is a device for general application, which has a wide range of probe measurement methods. This provides measurements with atomic resolution, not only with the use of STM but with the amplitude modulation AFM including in the liquid.

The key feature of  OPEN  is an "open" design, which allows scanning both by sample and by probe, using interchangeable scanners (1 -, 3 -, and 100-micron), a set of tables and replacement cells for use in liquid, in a controlled atmosphere, with heating and cooling of the sample and for electrochemical measurements.

OPEN has a high degree of automation, particularly adjustment of the OBD system is automatic, sample positioning and installing of the software settings are automated as well greatly facilitating the measurement for beginners.

AFM / STM complex NEXT was completely overhauled resulting in a sophisticated, highly scientific device. Drifts were reduced significantly (up to 10 nm / hour) as well as noise levels (up to 15 pm in the band of 1000 Hz).

Measurement capabilities of NEXT were greatly enhanced with new algorithms and the PX Ultra controller. Applying the SmartDescent algorithm we can approach the probe to sample with a soft touch of its surface, making it much easier to achieve atomic and molecular resolution during scanning. Using Multiscan (multiplication by precision positioning of video microscope and sample) and ScanStich (merging scans) algorithms we can achieve optical and scanned images of millimeters in size without loosing the high resolution. Mutual binding of coordinates of movement of the sample and video microscope allows cursor targeting for selecting the scan area or the working cantilever. It is now possible to carry out a precise overlay of scanned images on the optical images and continuous zoom from nanoscale atomic-resolution to optical images of millimeter sizes.

NEXT allows taking full advantage of the vast capabilities of the PX Ultra controller with its 5 synchronous detectors, 3 generators, and flexibility in the feedback organization. It facilitates performance of multi AFM and EFM measurements, single-pass measurements of the surface potential, etc.

In general the NT-MDT exposition (which was on a central position in the exhibition), and the interest of the participants into the company have confirmed that NT-MDT’s position as one of the top three global producers of probe microscopes. Moreover, a series of new devices such as SPECTRUM, OPEN and substantially revised NEXT, set a new standard - "Automated Probe Microscopes." Not only researchers and students will be able to work with devices that meet this standard, but also general laboratory staff conducting routine measurements. 

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