Microscopy Suite Equipment Fees

Fees/rates for use of equipment in the Microscopy Suite determined through analysis by Government Costing, University of Illinois. In effect starting July 1, 2018; subject to change.

Atomic Force Microscope (MultiMode AFM)


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a method of measuring surface topography on a scale from angstroms to 100 microns. The technique involves imaging a sample through the use of a probe, or tip, with a radius of 20 nm. The tip is held several nanometers above the surface using a feedback mechanism that measures surfaceµtip interactions on the scale of nanoNewtons. Variations in tip height are recorded while the tip is scanned repeatedly across the sample, producing a topographic image of the surface.

In addition to basic AFM, the instrument in the Microscopy Suite is capable of producing images in a number of other modes, including tapping, magnetic force, electrical force, and pulsed force. In tapping mode, the tip is oscillated above the sample surface, and data may be collected from interactions with surface topography, stiffness, and adhesion. This results in an expanded number of image contrast methods compared to basic AFM. Magnetic force mode imaging utilizes a magnetic tip to enable the visualization of magnetic domains on the sample. In electrical force mode imaging a charged tip is used to locate and record variations in surface charge. In pulsed force mode (Witec), the sample is oscillated beneath the tip, and a series of pseudo force-distance curves are generated. This permits the separation of sample topography, stiffness, and adhesion values, producing three independent images, or three individual sets of data, simultaneously.

This instrument may also be used with a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) head. STM utilizes quantum mechanical tunnelling of electrons to image conducting surfaces.


  • Capable of contact, tapping, magnetic force, electric force, and phase imaging modes; J-scanner with an x,y range of 125 microns and a vertical range of 5 microns; A-scanner with an x,y range of 1 micron and a vertical range of 400 nm; analyses may be performed in air or liquid cell; scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) head
  • Pulsed force mode

User Resources

For additional information about this piece of equipment, see the Calendars, Contacts, and Fees pages.

Primary Contacts
Manufacturer Digital Instruments
Equipment Model Multimode NanoScope IIIa
Location B606 G
Phone Numbers (217) 265-0875, (217) 265-5071


* The fee for use is added to our purchase cost for the specific precious metal (gold, gold-palladium, or platinum) expended during coating. Gold and gold-palladium are charged at $0.30/nm, and platinum is charged at $0.45/nm. The added fee is easy to determine for the dual-metal evaporator, for which total thicknesses are reported in nm. For the sputter coaters, at 65 mTorr and 40 mA, gold coats at 3 nm/10 seconds, gold-palladium coats at 1 nm/10 seconds, and platinum coats at 1 nm/10 seconds. So a standard 70-second coat of gold will cost an additional (21 x 0.30) $6.30, a 70-second coat of gold-palladium will cost (7 x 0.30) $2.10, and a 70-second coat of platinum will cost (7 x 0.45) $3.15.

**The Xradia NanoCT system requires staff setup of the sample before X-ray collection.

***The actual hourly cost for this instrument is $91.31. The Beckman Institute subsidizes the TEM at a rate of $41.31 per hour for Internal university users. Enterprise Works users are charged the full $91.31 per hour.