GETec AFSEM Insert

AFSEM¢ā is an atomic force microscope (AFM) by GETec Microscopy, designed for integration in a SEM or Dualbeam (SEM/FIB) microscope. Its open access design allows you to simultaneously operate SEM and AFM inside the SEM vacuum chamber. The complimentary image data of AFM and SEM enable unique characterization of your sample. The combination of complementary techniques is a key success factor for gaining new insights into the micro and nano worlds. AFSEM enables you to easily combine two of the most powerful analysis techniques to greatly extend your correlative microscopy and analysis possibilities.

In situ AFM analysis in your SEM

The complimentary capabilities of AFM and SEM allow for unique characterization possibilities of your samples. AFSEM lets you simultaneously image your sample with high resolution, create true 3D-topography representations, and accurately measure heights, distances and even material properties, all while maintaining the large SEM field of view to position your AFSEM cantilever exactly where you want it. The optimized AFSEM workflow (with practically no reduction of the SEM uptime) ensures highest possible effectiveness, while the powerful control software allows for optimized and intuitive measuring, system handling, and data analysis.

Correlative SEM-AFM analysis

For product or material analysis, it is often desirable to analyze a sample with multiple techniques and look for correlations between parameters. For imaging techniques like SEM and AFM this means one should make sure to analyze the exact same area. What easier way for correlative SEM-AFM analysis than performing the AFM measurement directly inside the SEM?


GETec SEM overview (A)

GETec SEM zoom (B)

And correlative AFM imaging (C) of a scratched gold surface.

SEM overview (A)

SEM zoom (B).

And correlative AFM imaging (C)
of a scratched gold surface.


Compatible with most SEMs without impeding normal operation

AFSEM fits into most SEM or dual beam (SEM/FIB) systems: it is mounted directly on the door of the system chamber, leaving the stage unaltered. In addition, a slim tip-scanning design in combination with self-sensing cantilevers requires only 4.5 mm space between the pole shoe of the electron column and the sample. As a result, AFSEM is compatible with a wide range of standard and optional stages, and can handle virtually any sample that fits the system chamber. This elegant design allows detection of sub-nanometer step heights in the SEM.

Many analysis techniques in parallel to AFM and SEM

Because the AFSEM design maintains full SEM functionality, it works in combination with other standard SEM analysis techniques such as FIB, FEBID, and EDX. In addition, since the sample is not scanned, relatively heavy or specialized stages — for example, for tensile stretching or nano-indentation — can be easily combined with AFSEM. From the AFM side as well, multiple modes are available through specific self-sensing cantilevers – for example, Static and Dynamic Imaging, Phase Contrast, Force Spectroscopy, Force Modulation, and Conductive AFM.





AFSEM and tensile stage
installed in SEM (A).

The SEM is used to localize the
neck formation, quantify the degree
of necking, and position the cantilever
at the center of the neck (B).

Surface roughness is quantified by AFM,
and surface topology characterized
in further detail (C).


Intuitive handling with self-sensing cantilever technology

AFSEM offers maximum flexibility and intuitive positioning. The 3-axis coarse stage moves the cantilever into or out of the field of view of the SEM and positions the cantilever to an area of interest. The SEM stage moves the sample laterally for both AFSEM and SEM. Vertically, AFM and sample are moved together, allowing you to safely move the sample up and down without crashing the AFM cantilever.

AFSEM Components and Accessories:

  • AFSEM scan head
  • AFSEM toolkit (includes a selection of cantilevers)
  • XYZ stage for AFSEM scan head + SEM-specific adapter and feed through flange
  • Controller, HV Amplifier, Computer (all in a rack housing) + Software


Introduction to AFSEM working within SEM

Integration and use of AFSEM module in SEM

Easy exchange of cantilevers in AFSEM

AFSEM Nanowire Demo


Silicon piezo-resistive sensing cantilevers and electronics

Silicon piezo-resistive self-sensing cantilevers enable complete new applications in the fields of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), nano-probing, torque-magnetometry, or other sensing applications such as measurements of gas dynamics and media properties. These cantilevers exhibit an integrated piezo-resistive Wheatstone bridge, which directly measures the cantilever deflection electrically. This readout technique removes the space-consuming optical laser readout needed with optical cantilevers. Self-sensing technology enables an easy and seamless integration with various instruments (e.g. SEM, TEM, but also many other measurement systems). A SCL cantilever chip is bonded onto a small PCB with a small connector for a quick cantilever exchange. SCL self-sensing cantilevers exhibit a silicon or single crystal diamond (SCD) tip with a tip radius smaller than 15 nm. Tipless cantilevers are also available by standard. All cantilevers can be delivered with a variety of resonance frequencies and spring constants for contact or non-contact modes.