Silicon Nitride AFM Probes

Silicon nitride XNC12 triangular AFM cantilevers Silicon nitride XNC12 triangular AFM cantilevers

Typical radius of uncoated AFM tip
Resulting AFM tip radius with the coating
Full AFM tip cone angle
Total AFM tip height
AFM Probe material
Silicon nitride
AFM Tip coating
None or Gold
Detector coating

The XNC12 series AFM probes have 2 different triangular silicon nitride AFM cantilevers on one side of the holder chip. The AFM cantilevers are thin and soft. Each AFM cantilever has a square pyramidal silicon nitride AFM tip with a sharpened apex. Silicon nitride AFM probes are manufactured using thin film technology. As a result, their AFM cantilevers can be thinner and with lower force constants than those made of silicon. In addition, silicon nitride is harder than silicon, offering good AFM tip durability.

The AFM probes have a 70nm thick gold coating on the back side of the AFM cantilever that enhances laser reflectivity. Two options are available for the tip side coating: no coating or a 35nm thick gold coating.

2 AFM Cantilevers Series

AFM CantileverResonance Frequency, kHzForce Constant, N/m
12 series Cantilever A   17     0.08  
Cantilever B   67     0.32  


Silicon nitride AFM probes are often used for soft contact mode measurements on biological samples and other soft matter. The reflective gold coating is chemically inert and ensures stable reflectivity in liquids and buffer solutions. The optional tip side gold coating makes the AFM tip slightly rounder and more suitable for scanning extremely sensitive and tear prone surfaces such as cell membranes. It also opens the possibility for AFM tip functionalization.

The XNC12 AFM probes are intended for contact mode measurements on biological and other soft samples in air and liquids. The gold coating on the detector side of the AFM cantilever ensures strong and stable reflectivity in various gaseous and liquid ambients.

The uncoated AFM tips provide very good resolution, while the gold coated AFM tips offer extra protection when scanning very soft samples. In addition, gold coated AFM tips are suitable for tip functionalization.

AFM topography image of human erythrocytes performed with the long cantilever of the XNC12 in contact mode.