Asylum Research


iDrive™ Magnetic Actuated Cantilever

For Effortless Cantilever Tunes in Fluid

iDrive uses a proprietary cantilever holder and cantilevers for AC imaging of soft samples in fluid. It simplifies fluid imaging by eliminating the piezo shaker and the multitude of resonance peaks mechanically coupled from the holder and fluid. iDrive uses a patented technique where a small oscillating current flows through the cantilever legs in the presence of a magnetic field causing it to vibrate. It is exclusively available for Asylum's MFP-3D™ AFMs.

Feature / Benefits

  • iDrive allows auto tuning of the cantilever in fluid. The cantilever tune with iDrive actuation closely resembles the thermal tune.
  • Clean cantilever tunes allow for the implementation of Q-control and other techniques in fluid.
  • The iDrive NbFeB magnet is fully enclosed and sealed within the cantilever holder which allows for unobstructed bottom view of samples and prevents sample contamination.
  • The module can be operated in either iDrive AC mode or standard piezo-driven AC mode – easily switchable in the software.
  • Single cantilever holder for both air and fluid imaging.
  • Compatible with Dual AC™ imaging mode.
  • iDrive does not require expensive magnetically coated cantilevers which can:
    – introduce undesirable cantilever bending.
    – expose the sample to potentially harmful metal ions.
    – have limited lifetime by losing magnetic sensitivity due to corrosion in biological fluids, or from oxidation on the shelf.
  • Unlike other magnetic actuated techniques, iDrive doesn’t require either an extra controller which can add cost and consume valuable lab space, or special sample holders with magnets.
  • Compatible with most MFP-3D environmental accessories including the Closed Fluid Cell, BioHeater and Humidity Sensor.

iDrive Kit

iDrive comes specially packaged as an all-inclusive kit with an ample amount of cantilevers:
  • Proprietary iDrive cantilever holder
  • PEEK™ spring clip screws
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • 105 AR-iDrive-N01 probes

Probe Specifications

Model # AR-iDrive-N01
Tip/lever material SiN. Four levers total but two short cantilevers (one on each side) are iDrive compatible only.
Lever Shape Triangular
Lever Thickness 0.4µm
Lever Width 13.4µm (100µm)
27.9µm (200µm)
Lever Length 100µm 200µm
Spring constant (N/m) 0.09 (100µm)
0.02 (200µm)
Resonant freq. (kHz) 32 (100µm)
10 (200µm)
Tip shape 4-sided pyramid
Tip height 3µm
Tip radius <40nm
Tip angle <35° front
<35° side
Coating 40nm Au on tip side
50nm Au on reflex side
Packaging/Pricing Half wafer (210) $5,730
70 $2,465
35 $1,450
10 $500


System Upgrades
Existing MFP-3D AFM systems in the field will need a small hardware retrofit to the controller for iDrive compatibility which will be provided with the iDrive kit at no additional cost. For upgrade details, price quotations, or if you have multiple controllers that need the compatibility upgrade, please contact us at:


Dual AC, MFP-3D and iDrive are trademarks of Asylum Research. PEEK is a trademark of Vitrex, PLC Corp.. Specifications and kit items subject to change without notice.



Download iDrive PDF


Insulin imaged in fluid with the iDrive. Phase channel overlaid on rendered AFM topography, 1µm scan.



Cantilever tune in fluid using standard piezo-driven AC mode (top) compared to iDrive AC mode (bottom). Notice that the single peak overlaps nicely with the thermal tune (in red).



Lambda digest DNA imaged in fluid with iDrive, 500nm scan.



iDrive cantilever holder



Schematic diagram of the cantilever which shows the Lorentz Force exerted onto the cantilever (right).



AR-iDrive-N01 cantilever.


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