Asylum Research


BioHeater™ Closed Fluid Cell

Accessory for the MFP-3D™ AFM

The BioHeater, based on our Closed Fluid Cell, is a temperature controlled sample stage for the MFP-3D AFM for heating samples in liquids from ambient to 80°C. It is ideal for many applications such as protein conformational changes, enzymatic activity, lipid phase transitions and others.

The BioHeater consists of a closed fluid cell with an immersed heating element which symmetrically heats the surrounding fluid. The fluid cell has a total of ten ports. Seven are available for liquid and gas exchange and electrical access to the sample. The remaining three are used by the heating element.

The fluid cell can be operated in either an open configuration where the membrane cover acts as an evaporation shield, or with a clamp for a completely sealed and controlled environment. It supports samples up to 2mm thick. A stainless steel temperature probe extends near the sample for closed loop control within 0.1°C. Materials in contact with the liquid are glass, cantilever holder materials, silicone rubber, FKM (Viton® equivalent O-rings), stainless steel (temperature probe), PEEK, and FEP Teflon® coating (on the heating element). The BioHeater fluid cell can be completely disassembled for cleaning and most parts can be sonicated and autoclaved.

Versatile Configuration
The BioHeater can be used with varying levels of setup complexity ranging from heating with perfusion, just heating with all available ports plugged, or for closed fluid cell imaging without heating capabilities. Setup is easily accomplished by simply removing the heating element. The accessory kit also includes a portless fluid dish.

Closed Loop Accuracy with the Environmental Controller
The BioHeater requires the Environmental Controller (purchased separately) which features closed loop temperature control of the sample to within 0.1°C in a steady state, with less than 0.1°C overshoot during heating. The temperature is controlled from within the MFP-3D software environment, allowing coordination of heating events with imaging techniques, force measurements, and lithography functions. Sample temperature is recorded in each AFM image file and in a temperature log graph. The BioHeater is compatible with the MFP-3D-SA and MFP-3D-BIO. The transparent fluid cell bottom allows use with both top and bottom view optics.



BioHeater – Model BIOHEAT

The BioHeater includes the Heating Stage (which can be reconfigured as a Closed Fluid Cell) and Accessory Kit. Requires the Environmental Controller (purchased separately):

BioHeater Heating Stage 1
Closed Fluid Cell Clamp assembly 1
Portless fluid dish* 1
Membranes/bellows (each silicone, Viton) 2
Membrane threaded clamp 1
1/16" PFA tubing 5'
35mm x 1mm glass sample disks 5
Luer fittings and plug 2
12mm, 25mm, and 35mm cover slips 10
25mm cover slip holder, top and bottom* 1
12mm cover slip holder* 1
Teflon port plugs 10
5cc syringes* 2
A variety of replacement O-rings  
Assembly tools, tweezers, and cleaning brush  

* Not pictured

Compatible with all high NA objectives (0.17mm cover slip bottom recommended)

Temperature control
- Heats from ambient to 80°C
- 0.02°C precision; 0.1°C accuracy; 0.1°C overshoot

Liquid flow through

Top and bottom optical access

Maximum pressure 2.5psi

Sample size
- 25mm maximum; 2mm thickness
- 10mm sample travel within cell when open
- 1-3mm sample travel within cell when closed and scanning, dependent

Fluid volume
- 5ml before engage
- 1.5ml-2.55ml after engage, clamped and sealed

Access ports (not pictured)

1/16" diameter ports 4
0.036" diameter ports 6

- Can be completely disassembled
- Autoclavable (everything but thermal sensor probe)


Base: PEEK
Sample mount: Glass
Membrane: Silicone or FKM

Environmental Controller – Model ENVIRO

• Closed loop operation
• SmartStart for plug and play operation
• Operates at 110 or 220 VAC
• CE tested
• Built-in microprocessor for temperature control
• Fully programmable through the MFP-3D software

MFP-3D, SmartStart and BioHeater are trademarks of Asylum Research. Other trademarks are those of their respective owners. Specifications and kit items subject to change without notice.



Download BioHeater PDF


The BioHeater allows thermally controlled experiments in liquids in a totally sealed environment.



Temperature vs. time graph which includes temperature setpoint (blue line), sensor (sample) temperature (black line), and heater output (red line).



Schematic of BioHeater assembly.



The Environmental Controller offers closed loop precision and accuracy.






Oxford Instruments Asylum Research, Inc. • 6310 Hollister Ave. • Santa Barbara, CA  93117 •