Certus - Scanning Probe Microscope

Certus - Scanning Probe Microscope.

The basis for SPM (scanning probe microscope) is the scanning head. The company NST has developed  state of art SPM head , which was named  Certus.  Мodern requirements for general purposes SPM were taken into consideration during research and development, latest achievements in electronics and the original patented technological solutions were used. The main distinguishing features of SPM Certus are:

  • Plane-parallel XYZ scanner with capacitive sensors on all axes;Certus - SPM scanning head
  • Flexible configuration allows to use a wide range of lasers for deflectometer (up to a stationary external lasers);
  • Easy-site attachment of the probe to probe holder, allows a fundamentally different types of probes to be used;
  • Open work area (point of contact of the probe and the sample), which provides easy monitoring of the probe, enter the external radiation, etc.;
  • Parallel approach oprobe to the sample with the ability automatically align the head above the plane of the sample;
  • Fully digital connection between the head and controller.






The design of the head to  XYZ piezoelectric scanner, developed by engineers NST.

Scanner specifications:

Main parameters

Certus drawings - Scanning Probe  Microscope (SPM)

SPM head
Built-in XYZ scanner
Scanning/positioning XYZ range
100x100x15 μm
XY stage resonant frequency 1 кHz
Z rezonant frequency 7 кHz
SPM resolution (XY lateral) <1 nm
SPM resolution (Z vertical) <0.1 nm
Residual nonlinearity <0.3%
1.1.7 Minimum scan step 0.1 nm
1.2 Displacement sensors
1.2.1 Sensors type Capacitance
1.2.2 Measuring principle Time-to-digital convertion


Holders of probes. For the cantilever and tuning fork.

All three axes are equipped with capacitance displacement sensors. The measuring part is based on TDC (time-to-digital converters) that are physically located as close to sensors, and give digital signal proportional to the measured capacitance. This feachure allows  noiseless measurements and transmitance them to the controller with any lenght of connecting cables, without quality loss of measurements.

In standard configuration deflectometer has diode laser with a wavelength of 670 nm. At the request of the customer may be use another, such as an infrared laser. In addition, scanning head is capable of fiber optic port using for external laser connection.

The scanning head is equipped with several removable probe holders: for standard cantilever probes, for the type tuning fork with a vertical or horizontal arrangement. For customers requirements, our engineers can develop attachment for any types of probes.


Scanning Probe Microscope (Atomic Force Microscope) -  Certus
A - photodiode
B - cantilever
C - laser beam
D - probe holders
E - coarse approach system (stepper motors)

Probable position of the external objective.

Unique "open design" allows you to use external large aperture objectives, illuminators, microscopes condensers, etc. to illuminate the work area, monitor the sample and the probe position, to take stock of radiation in the point of contact of the probe and the sample.


Control scanning head are controlled by means of a universal controller EG-3000 and software NSpec.