Asylum Research


MFP-3D™ Stand Alone AFM
The Widest Range of AFM/SPM
Capabilities Available Today



Technical Innovations

MFP-3D Head

MFP-3D XY Scanner

MFP-3D Base

All-Digital ARC2™ Controller and Software Flexibility

Built-in Features


Service, Support and Warranty



The Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), has been the instrument of choice for three dimensional measurements at the nanometer scale. With the MFP-3D Stand Alone (MFP-3D-SA) AFM, scientists can now choose a sensitive and precise AFM with the lowest noise performance that also includes a complete scientific software environment. The MFP-3D-SA is ideal for many applications including physics, material science, polymers, chemistry, nanolithography, bioscience, and quantitative nanoscale measurements. The MFP-3D has the flexibility to acquire your data, analyze it, and even make publication-ready graphics. Your imagination is your only limit.


Technical Innovations

1. Sensored, closed loop positioning for high resolution imaging, accuracy, and reproducibility.

2. Pioneering all-digital controller for open software adaptability, power and flexibility.

3. Built-in advanced features such as real-time 3D rendering, nanolithography/nanomanipulation, and Dual AC™ Mode for dual resonance and harmonic imaging.

4. Designed for flexibility and expandability, with a wide range of available system, environmental and application options to enhance capabilities, including nanoindentation and Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM). Please refer to the MFP-3D Options data sheet for details.



MFP-3D Head

Low noise, eliminates interference

Sensored optical lever with diffraction limited optics and a low coherence light source virtually eliminates interference artifacts. The NPS™ sensored Z axis provides precise measurements of the cantilever position for accurate force and topography measurements.




MFP-3D XY Scanner
Precision and accuracy unlike any tube scanner

The MFP-3D uses a flexured scanner and patented NPS sensors which measure the exact position of each axis (X-Y). They correct for hysteresis and creep, providing flat scans and the ability to accurately zoom and offset with one mouse click.

NPS Allows Precise Zooms



MFP-3D Base
Three configurations for illuminating and viewing your sample

• Top view for opaque samples

• Bottom view for transparent samples

• Dual view for both viewing options




All-Digital ARC2™ Controller and Software Flexibility
All-digital configuration allows virtually the entire system operation to be controlled through the MFP software interface (IGOR Pro) for easy addition of new microscope capabilities.

• 100% digital for low noise, fast operation, and flexibility

• Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Digital Signal Processor (DSP)

• Fast analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog conversions




What Kind of User Are You?

Built-in Features

  • ModeMaster™ - A library of standard and user-defined operation modes
    such as AC, Contact, Phase, EFM, LFM, PFM, Force Mode, Nanolithography
  • SmartStart™ - Auto configures any peripheral that interfaces with the
    controller for plug and play operation
  • 25+ megapixel resolution
  • MicroAngelo™ - Nanolithography and manipulation
  • ARgyle™ - Real3D™ rendering both on and offline
  • Channel Overlay - Overlay data such as EFM or phase channel on topography
  • IGOR Command and MacroBuilder™ language at your disposal
  • Edit and create your own Savant routines
  • Software control of signal routing through crosspoint switch




Materials Science

Aggregate of colloidosomes formed from the flash-curing of methacrylate emulsion droplets that are stabilized with 400nm PMMA latex spheres, 50μm scan.





Iomega Zip 1GB drive write head. The MFM phase signal was overlaid on top of the topography, 20μm scan.



Life Science

Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1 bacteria showing conductive bacterial nanowires, 5µm scan. Sample courtesy M. El-Naggar, USC and Y. Gorby, J. Craig Venter Institute.




Advanced Applications

Nanoindentation on silicon, 1µm scan.



Force Curves

Mechanical unfolding of protein.


Advanced Applications

ARgyle Channel Overlay, Second Mode (Dual AC)
Amplitude Image of ZnO, 1µm Scan.


Asylum Research – Science First
Asylum Research was founded by scientists with the simple goal of creating the world’s best research instrumentation for other scientists. Whether your applications are in materials science, life science, polymers, nanolithography, electrical or magnetic measurements, Asylum Research has raised the bar for Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) performance

Personalized, Exceptional Support
Asylum’s legendary product and applications support ensures you get up and running quickly and achieve optimum results. Asylum is the clear leader in customer satisfaction. If you’re not already an Asylum user, just ask one (or ask us for a reference). We extend this personalized support by being virtually in your lab with “OnSight” – a remote support system that lets us view, diagnose and control your system over the Internet.

Lowest Cost of Ownership
The MFP-3D-SA includes a full one-year warranty that covers all parts and labor, including shipping and any required travel expenses, for problems occurring due to normal usage. Because of our robust, reliable systems, you can be sure that the cost of ownership will remain low even beyond the warranty period. In the unlikely event that a repair is needed, you can be assured of the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Extended system warranties are priced fairly and competitively for additional predictability in the long term.

For the full text brochure and detailed specifications, download the PDF copy of the MFP-3D-SA brochure.



MFP-3D-SA AFM Specifications

Operating Modes

Contact Mode: Imaging using feedback on deflection. Height, deflection, and lateral force signals available.

AC and Dual AC™: Q-controlled imaging using feedback on amplitude. Signals include height, amplitude/phase, I/Q, deflection; both air and fluid.

Force Mode: Force curve acquisition in contact or AC mode. All signals available.

Lateral Force: Frictional force imaging.

MicroAngelo: Built-in nanolithography/ nanomanipulation.


Surface Potential

Conductive AFM (CAFM) with ORCA™ (optional)

Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM)

Variable Field MFM (optional)

Piezoresponse Force Microscopy

Vector PFM

Switching Spectroscopy PFM (high voltage optional)

Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy (SKPM)

Nanoindentation (optional)

Dual AC Resonance Tracking (DART)

Thermal Analysis (optional)


Data Acquisition

Data size is limited only by the memory on the PC (i.e., 10 million point force curves and >5k x 5k point images are possible). It is possible to capture data at 5MHz for up to two million points continuously.


Scan Axes

X&Y: 90µm travel in closed loop. Closed loop position control with sensor noise <0.5nm average deviation (Adev) in a 0.1Hz-1kHz bandwidth (BW) and sensor nonlinearity <0.05% (Adev/full travel) at full scan.

Z: >15µm sensored travel. Sensor noise <0.25nm Adev in a 0.1Hz-1kHz BW and sensor non-linearity less than 0.05% (Adev/full travel) at full scan.

Z height: noise <0.06nm Adev, 0.1Hz-1kHz BW.


Optical Lever

Noise: <0.02nm Adev in a 0.1Hz to 1kHz BW.


Controller Electronics

ADCs: One 16-bit input operating at 5MHz with seven gains and a 16-bit offset. Used primarily for cantilever deflection, but also user accessible; Five 16-bit inputs operating at 100kHz. Typically three are used for the reading of the X, Y, and Z sensors and two are available for user inputs.

Frequency Synthesizer: Outputs from two Direct Digital Synthesizers (DDS) are are summed and available on a 16-bit, 10MHz DAC.

Frequency: DC to 2.0MHz in 2mHz increments.

Amplitude: 0 to 20V(p-p) in 0.6mV increments. Amplitude, phase, and frequency of the oscillator can be controlled from software at 100kHz update rates.

DACs: Six high resolution, ultra low-noise, fast 24-bit channels updated at 100kHz: two for XY scanning (14kHz bandwidth); one for Z feedback (117kHz bandwidth); and three general purpose (56kHz bandwidth).

Digital Lock-ins: The 5MHz ADC is the input to two fully digital lock-ins that provide quadrature outputs. Both R/ϑ (amplitude/phase) and I/Q (Rcosϑ/ Rsinϑ) are available in output bandwidths up to 9kHz.

DSP: Floating point processor running at 80MHz.

Digital Q-control: for cantilevers from 2kHz to 2MHz; typically enhances or suppresses Q by 5X.

Computer-to-Controller Communication: Universal Serial Bus (USB).

X, Y, & Z High Voltage Outputs: -10 to +150V.

Computer: High-performance dual-monitor Windows™ computer (inquire for latest specifications and custom configurations).

Light Source

Superluminescent diode (SLD) is classified as Class 1M. Viewing with an optical instrument within a distance of 100mm may pose an eye hazard.



Micrometer driven stage for mechanical alignment of the cantilever tip and sample.

MFP Head

Standard Head: Flexure-mounted optical lever system with low-coherence SLD, liquid-compatible and AC-capable cantilever holder, dichroic mirror and window for optical access to cantilever, 80-pitch engage screws, and Invar shell.

Extended Head (optional): 40µm Z scan range.

Top View Head (optional): Adds 10x, 0.28 NA long-working distance objective with focus and beamsteering adjustments, allows high resolution optical imaging of tip and sample.

Narrowband Source (optional): Eliminates interference with sensitive optical experiments.

High Bandwidth Photodiode (optional): Increases photodiode bandwidth for deflection and lateral signals to 7MHz.


Base Models

Stand Alone (SA): Three models are available. All feature bright field microscopy with Köhler illumination, adjustable aperture and field diaphragm, remote 150W light source coupled via fiber bundle, dual 1/4" CCD’s with 720µm and 240µm fields of view; integrated scanning and interconnect board, and rigid low-vibration construction.

  • Top View: Uses infinity-corrected Mitutoyo objective in Top View head for imaging of opaque samples at 3µm resolution.
  • Bottom View: For transparent samples only. Default configuration is 10x/0.25 NA infinity- corrected objective. Others available upon request.
  • Dual View: Combines features of Top and Bottom View, with switchable shutters. Allows for transmitted light in either direction.


Sample Holders

For samples up to 3.4"x1.5", including glass slides and coverslips. Specialized sample holders including flow-through and heating available (see Options Data Sheet).



Open user interface based on IGOR Pro incorporates professional-quality analysis and graphing capabilities. AFM analysis includes section, histogram, roughness, particle analysis, and masking.

Features include but not limited to:

  • Nonlinear curve fitting to arbitrary user-defined functions.
  • Extensive image analysis including 2D FFT’s, wavelet transformations, convolutions, line profiles, particle analysis, edge detection (eight methods, including Sobel), and thresholding (five methods, including fuzzy entropy).
  • Automatic spectral fitting and calibration of cantilever spring constants using thermal noise and Sader method.
  • Easy generation of scientific publication quality graphs and page layouts.

ARgyle: OpenGL® 3D rendering technology for advanced image display.

  • Generate, display, and visualize 3D images in real-time while you scan as well as off-line processing.
  • Overlay alternate channel data with primary to view feature correlation.
  • Independent scaling of axes for true 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Mouse-driven rotating, panning, scaling, and specular lighting control of images.
  • Export 3D images to clipboard, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, STL, VRML 2.0.
  • Stereo anaglyph creation from 3D images.


Vibration Isolation

Vibration isolation is recommended for all systems.


Additional Options

A wide range of system, environmental, and application options are available to enhance the capabilities of the MFP-3D-SA. See MFP-3D Options Data Sheets for additional information.


ARC2, ARgyle, Dual AC, MFP-3D, MicroAngelo, ModeMaster, NPS, ORCA, Real3D, and SmartStart are trademarks of Asylum Research. Other trademarks are those of their respective owners.


MFP-3D-SA is a Class 1M Laser Product

Download Brochure (11.3 MB)

Download Brochure (550 KB)

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