True Non-Contact™ Mode

True Non-Contact™ Mode Preserves Sharp Tip

AFM tips are so brittle that touching a sample will instantly reduce the resolution and quality of the image they produce. For soft and delicate samples, the tip will also damage the sample and result in inaccurate sample height measurements, something that can cost you valuable time and money. True Non-Contact™ Mode, a scan mode unique to Park AFMs, consistently produces high resolution and accurate data while maintaining the integrity of the sample.


The sample image, shown in 1:1 aspect ratio, is an unprocessed raw data image of shallow trench isolation, taken by Park AFM; the depth is 3.7 μm, further confirmed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The two images on the right show no tip wear after taking 20 images of the sample.


Accurate Feedback by Faster Z-servo Enables True Non-Contact AFM

The benefits and the superiority of non-contact mode atomic force microscopy is well established: no tip wear, no sample damage, maintenance of high resolution imaging, and high accuracy of AFM measurement. However, only Park has achieved what True Non-Contact™ mode with its flexure-based high force Z-scanner. In True Non-Contact™ mode, the tip-sample distance is successfully maintained at a few nanometers in the net attractive regime of inter-atomic force. The small amplitude of tip oscillation minimizes the tip-sample interaction, resulting in superb tip preservation and negligible sample modification.


True Non-Contact™ Mode



  • Less tip wear = Prolonged high-resolution scan
  • Non-destructive tip-sample interaction = Minimized sample modification
  • Immunity from parameter dependent results



Tapping Imaging



  • Quick tip wear = Blurred low-resolution scan
  • Destructive tip-sample interaction = Sample damage and modification
  • Highly parameter-dependent



Industry Leading Z-Servo Speed

Park AFM has the fastest Z servo speed in the industry. The forward and backward scan gap is kept less than 0.15% of the scan range even during high-speed scanning.


The hard, abrasive, and delicate features of the WC film sample demonstrate the advantage of the fast Z-servo speed by Park AFM. The sharp tip end is preserved during the True Non-Contact™ scan while trace and retrace are perfectly matched even at faster scan rates.

true non-contact-mode

Park AFM employs industry leading fast Z-servo speed:

Park's high speed Z-servo with minimal Z scan mass and fast DSP servo control keeps the probe within the narrow range of the attractive force enabling on-contact mode AFM in ambient atmosphere.

  • Z-scanner bandwidth of more than 9 kHz, or Z-servo speed of more than 62 mm/sec tip velocity
  • Optimized Z servo speed with minimal Z scan mass (PSPD and tip)
  • Fast DSP servo control without time delay