An Upcoming Opportunity
In July, 2013, AFMWorkshop is offering a unique 5 day, hands-on opportunity to advance your knowledge and practice with Atomic Force Microscope applications.
Learning to operate an AFM and acquiring its first images requires only a few hours of time. But mastering an AFM's operation to obtain the highest quality images on many types of samples requires a much greater time commitment.
It can be a humbling experience. Researchers often see amazing images on a specific type of sample within scientific papers, but remain unsuccessful when attempting to duplicate the image on their own AFM. The barriers to success are most often linked to three causes:
Instrument Set Up
if the AFM is not set up correctly in a proper environment, good images are not achievable.
When measuring AFM images it is essential that the AFM be operated correctly. For example, it's especially important that the tip approach be made without damaging the tip and that the correct scan parameters are used.
Prior to a successful scan, the sample must be properly prepared. There are "tricks-of-the-trade" involved in correct sample preparation. Unfortunately, the procedures are not readily available in the AFM literature and are often considered "Tribal Knowledge" among the researchers in a specific field.
AFMWorkshop's Applications Workshop is designed to help AFM operators understand and hone the appropriate procedures and methodology, alleviating the three most common causes for errors.
Additional topics covered during the workshop include: data processing and analysis, applications of AFM from materials to biological samples, and more!
While the Applications Workshop will be run on AFMWorkshop microscopes, the knowledge and skills gained will be applicable on any AFM. Both AFMWorkshop staff and an invited independent AFM expert will lead the workshops.
Open Architecture for AFM Instrumentation
AFMWorkshop has an open architecture for all of its AFMs. This means that we offer our customers all of the mechanical drawings, schematics and software source code used to produce our products. A lot of people ask why we would be "crazy" enough to provide this type of information. We are motivated by the following:
We understand that many customers have limited budgets. We don't want to stress those budgets with costly service calls by technicians. If repairs are needed to our products - no matter how many years into the future - users of an AFMWorkshop product can repair the instrument themselves based on our documentation and training.
Instrument innovators often want to use an AFM as a starting point to create a new instrument. With our open architecture policy, they are able to readily modify our AFM to their specific needs. Already, we have several customers using our AFMs to create new instruments for fabricating X-Ray gratings, extracting DNA from cells, and Microwave microscopy.
An open architecture provides customers with the opportunity to build their own AFM at one of our assembly workshops. This process provides AFMWorkshop customers with an intimate understanding of their instrument's operation, and thus they are best equipped to successfully operate the microscope.
If you have any questions about AFMWorkshop's open architecture policy you are welcome to contact us.