Automated AFM NEXT II | NT-MDT Spectrum Instruments


Fully automated AFM/STM system NEXT II. NT-MDT SI – AFM-probes, atomic force microscope (AFM, HybriD Mode,  STM, SPM, RAMAN, SNOM)

Easy to use technology enabling multiple AFM/STM capabilities and delivering world class performance


  • Industry leading automation level
  • Outstanding noise floor and thermal drifts
  • Fast scanner with XYZ low-noise close-loop
  • Routine atomic resolution
  • 60+ SPM modes in basic configuration
  • Continuous zoom from millimeter to nanometer range
  • Integrated with new Atomic Force Microscopy technique HybriD Mode™

Ultimate automation

Atomic Force Microscope NEXT provides motorized sample positioning and integrated high resolution optical microscope positioning, motorized continuous zoom and focusing of the optical microscope. But AFM automation is more than just motorization. Powerful Nova PX software algorithms remove a gap between optics and AFM providing continuous zoom from huge panoramic optical view down to atomic resolution.

Since all step movers are coupled together with the optical image, NEXT provides autofocus, fast one-click cantilever alignment, panoramic optical view and multiple scanning on 5×5 mm range.

Automation features

  • Cantilever recognition and automatic laser alignment both in liquid and air
  • Autofocus
  • Panoramic optical field of view up to 7×7 mm with 2 um resolution
  • Point-and-click motorized precise sample positioning
  • Gentle engagement procedure and automatic feedback loop adjustment
  • Automated MultiScan™ routine on 5x5mm range with stitching of overlapping scans
  • 100s of scans per day automatically
  • Automatic software configuration for all advanced modes
  • 3D mouse for controlling sample stage and optical microscope step movers

Measuring techniques

Coupled with the PX Ultra controller and newest Nova PX data processing software, NEXT realizes the largest suite of AFM and STM techniques both for beginner and advanced users. NEXT provides 60+ modes and techniques in basic configuration.

Advanced control electronics

Powerful and flexible PX Ultra controller allows high-quality AFM operations with small deflection noise (~25 fm/√Hz), low-noise high voltage drive (noise <1 mV/600 V) and multi-frequency measurements with five lock-in amplifiers.

Easy-to-use and flexible software

Nova PX software contains predefined settings and smart algorithms for fast configuration of the NEXT operation in all advanced modes. Along with fast configuration Nova PX software allows researchers to have unlimited experiment flexibility.

Topography measurements

Contact AFM and AM-AFM (semicontact and non-contact modes) are available for topography measurements with the option of viewing several relevant signals.

Curves analysis

Analysis of data curves of various nature (distance relations of force, amplitude, frequency, phase, or current, as well as bias voltage relations of force or current) supplies a vast amount of diverse information on the sample.

Electrical studies

NEXT offers a wide variety of electric measurement techniques, including Electrostatic force microscopy with amplitude and frequency modulation, Kelvin probe force microscopy with amplitude or phase modulation, measurement of dC/dZ and dC/dV relations, quantitative probing of dielectric properties and Spreading resistance imaging.

STM measurements

STM measurements can be performed in the modes of constant current or of constant height. STM spectroscopy provides relations I(V), I(Z), dI/dV, and dI/dZ.

Magnetic properties

For MFM measurements, the two-pass mode with tracking the sample surface topography and the mode of constant height in the scanner coordinate frame are implemented.


NEXT allows much room for material research by its nanosclerometry feature. Quantitative measurements of hardness and Young modulus are available with Berkovich-type probes and commercial AFM cantilevers depending on the properties of the sample.


With its wide variety of techniques and modes of probe measurements, the NEXT measurement complex is applicable for many challenges in science and technology. Scanning with atomic resolution that by NEXT can offer is of high demand in physicochemical research of solid surfaces, low-dimensional nanostructures, and nanomaterials.

Surface morphology analysis provides parameters of roughness, texture, and anisotropy of the sample surface as well as distributions of adsorbed particles and geometrical characteristics of those particles.

Dedicated gentle scanning techniques are now available to study powders, soft materials, biological structures, biomolecules, biopolymers, and to perform measurements in liquid.

A peculiar place in applications of NEXT is taken by material science. It includes study of adhesion characteristics, friction factors, wear resistance of coatings, elasticity moduli, hardness etc.

Wide variety of techniques for measurement of electrical characteristics implemented in NEXT (local resistance, surface potential, capacitance, photovoltaic parameters) enables analysis of various functional structures, components of micro-, nano- and molecular electronics, and sensors of many types.

NEXT offers comprehensive capabilities to study ferroelectrics in terms of their domain structure, hysteresis properties, and thermal characteristics.

Microporous nitrocellulose membrane AM‑AFM. Scan size 7×7 μm

Monodomain BFO sample PFM Phase. Scan size 3×3 μm

PnBA molecules on mica Adhesion map, HybriD™ mode. Scan size 300×300 nm

Surface Potential of SRAM Single-pass AM‑KPFM. Scan size 40×40 μm

Calcite atomic resolution AM‑AFM in liquid. Scan size 7×7 nm

Height image of the ab plane of TTF‑TCNQ crystal AM‑AFM. Scan size 9×9 nm

HOPG atomic lattice resolution STM. Scan size 2.1×2.1 nm

MultiScan™ on NT‑MDT SI test sample 12 stitched AFM images. Scan size 200×200 μm



Measuring in liquid

Auxiliary measuring head and open liquid cell for measuring in liquid

Nanosclerometry head

Auxillary head for

  • Nanoindentation
  • Scratch hardness
  • Elastic modulus mapping


Heating stage

Temperature control of the sample: from the RT up to 150°C


  • Manual control of sample x-y moving and videocamera x-y moving, zoom, focus
  • Manual control of scan data 3D presentation

AFM probes

NT-MDT offers a wide assortment of SPM probes, ranging from the routine silicon and polysilicon cantilevers to ultra-sharp diamond-like carbon tips, probes with different coatings, for magnetic measurements, probes for SNOM and many others:
contact, conductive contact, noncontact and conductive noncontact.


Measuring modes and techniques

In air

Contact and Amplitude Modulation AFM, AFM Spectroscopy, AFM Lithography (force, current, voltage), HybriD Mode™, Spreading-Resistance Imaging, Dark mode SRI, Lateral Force Microscopy, Lateral modulation LFM, Vertical and Lateral Piezoresponse Force Microscopy, PFM Switching Spectroscopy, Force Modulation Microscopy, Magnetic Force Microscopy, Two-pass and Single-pass Electrostatic Force Microscopy, Two-pass and Single-pass Scanning Capacitance Force Microscopy, Quantitative Permittivity mapping, Two-pass and Single-pass Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy, Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (microscopy, spectroscopy, lithography), Nanosclerometry, AFM-based nanoindentation.

In liquid

Contact and Amplitude Modulation AFM, AFM Spectroscopy, AFM Force Lithography, HybriD™ mode, Lateral Force Microscopy, Lateral modulation LFM, Force Modulation Microscopy, Magnetic Force Microscopy.

Technical data

Measuring system
Measuring heads AFM and STM (stationary, automatically interchangeable); liquid AFM, and nanosclerometer head (removable, with manual insertion)
Available SPM modes AFM, STM, nanosclerometry in air environment AFM in liquid environment
System of cantilever deflection registration automated alignment
Size up to 20 mm in diameter, up to 10 mm in height
Sample weight up to 40 g
Temperature control from RT up to 150 oC
Scanning system
Type of scanning by sample
Scanning area 100x100x10 um (with feedback sensors)
3x3x2 um in the high resolution mode
Nonlinearity, XY 0.1 % (with feedback sensors)
Noise XY less than 0.3 nm (with feedback sensors)
Noise level Z (RMS in the band of 10 -1000 Hz) 0.03 nm (typically) with feedback sensors
0.02 nm in the high resolution mode
System of sample positioning
Method automated, video monitored
Range, XY 5x5 mm
Min. step 0.3 um
Video monitoring system
Resolution 2 um
Focus motorized
Zoom continuous
Overall dimensions and weight
Sizing 470x210x260 mm
Weight 25 kg

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