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Application Options

AFM image processing, live-cell-chamber

Live Cell Study with Live Cell Chamber (SICM & AFM)

The live cell chamber creates an ideal environment for cells, improving their life expectancy during long measurement durations through controlled temperature, pH, and humidity at optimal conditions. Experiments with the live cell chamber have demonstrated cell survivability of more than 20 hours.


Human fibroblast cells in the Live Cell Chamber of NX-Bio survive over 48 hours.


Ion Channel Recording of Targeted Patch Clamping

Conventional Patch Clamping is an optical microscope view-based technique used to monitor a single living cell's ion channel activity—a key quantifier of various cellular activities. Targeted Patch Clamping is the SICM-based version of this technique that enables the detection of ion channel activities of specific subcellular structures.

SICM + Patch Clamping = Targeted Patch Clamping


More Comprehensive Cell Biology Study, by Integrating Fluorescence Microcopy with Park SICM

Combining fluorescence microscopy (FM) techniques with Park SICM can create new benefits and provide comprehensive information for cell biology studies that cannot be obtained when using only one of those techniques. While monitoring external cellular surface morphology with SICM, the internal cellular behavior can be observed by FM.


Structural & Physical Property Characterization of Cell in XEI


Software Option

SmartScanTM – Data Acquisition

SmartScanTM is a data acquisition software that provides all user controls of Park AFM measurements. The friendly user-oriented interface of SmartScanTM provides easy operation of the AFM.

• Simultaneous data acquisition of up to 16 images
• Maximum 4096 × 4096 pixels image size
• Dedicated Force-distance and I-V spectroscopy with batch processing
• Cantilever spring constant calibration


XEI – Image Processing and Analysis

XEI is the AFM image processing and analysis program. Its powerful processing algorithms make analyses easy and streamlined. With its most advanced and versatile imaging features, AFM users can obtain essential and critical information from their experiment.

• Image analysis of line profile, region, 3D rendering
• Spectroscopy data analysis module (F-d, I-V)
• Directly copy/paste to presentation program
• Multiple image comparison
• Image overlay of two different images


Image Overlay: SICM Topography + Fluorescence Microscopic Image


Park Systems’ Image overlay software allows to combine fluorescence microscopic image onto SICM topography accurately. This dedicated software helps a complicate combining process much easier .


Park NX-Bio Specifications

SICM Head with pipette probe holder

Includes a low-noise, high-precision ionic current amplifier Includes a high-force Z scanner

• Flexure-guided structure driven by multiply-stacked piezoelectric stacks
• Z scan range: 25 μm
• 20-bit Z position control and 24-bit Z position sensor


Dovetail lock head mount for easy mount/removal of the SICM head

• Automatically connects to the electronics upon mounting

High Speed AFM head

Includes a high-speed Z scanner

• Flexure-guided structure driven by multiply-stacked piezoelectric stacks
• Z scan range: 25 μm
• 20-bit Z position control and 24-bit Z position sensor


Includes a probehand to which a cantilever is attached

• NCM oscillation frequency: Up to 3 MHz
• Voltage bias range to the cantilever: -10 V to 10 V


Detects the deflection of the cantilever using SLD (Super Luminescent Diode) for topography feedback

• SLD wavelength: 830 nm
• SLD has low coherence length eliminating optical interference
• SLD coherent length: ~50 μm


Dovetail-lock head mount for easy mount/removal of the AFM head

• Automatically connects to the electronics upon mounting


Supported Modes

SICM Standard Imaging

• DC mode
• ARS mode
• Z servo ARS mode


SICM Ionic Current Measurement

• Current-Distance (I-D) Spectroscopy
• Patch Clamping Integration (Targeted Patch Clamping)


AFM Force Measurement

• Force Distance (F-D) Spectroscopy
• PinPoint modeTM for Surface Mechanical Property Imaging
• Force Volume Imaging
• Spring Constant Calibration by Thermal Method


AFM Standard Imaging

• True Non-Contact AFM
• Basic Contact AFM and DFM
• Lateral Force Microscopy (LFM)
• Phase Imaging


Optical Properties

• Raman Spectroscopy Integration
• Tip-Enahnced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) Integration




Dedicated system control and data acquisition software
Adjusting feedback gain, set point in real time
Script-level control through external programs such as LabVIEW (optional)


SICM & AFM data analysis software (running on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux)
Geographical morphology of biological sample analysis, including height, volume, and surface roughness
3 dimensional SICM/AFM image display



Decoupled XY and Z-scanner
Single module flexure XY-scanner with closed-loop control
Scan range of XY-scanner: 100 μm x 100 μm

20-bit XY position control and 24-bit XY positioning sensor
Working distance of Z-scanner: 25 μm
Resonance frequency of Z-scanner: 5 kHz


XY Stage and Z stage

Working range of XY stage: Software-controlled motorized stage for SICM/AFM head positioning
Stage travel range: 14 mm
Stage travel step: 0.1 μm
Working range of Z stage: -14 mm, motorized movement
Sample size:
• 50 mm × 50 mm, 20 mm thick, and up to 500 g
• Petri dish (38 mm)


Optical Configuration for Park NX-Bio

Compatible with inverted microcopes from
• Zeiss (Axio Observer Z.1)
• Nikon (Ti-S, Ti-U, Ti-E)

Compatible with confocal microscopes and fluorescence technique such as TIRF, STORM
TopviewOptics (upright optics) with CCD camera for opaque samples


Accessories for Applications

Environmental control chamber for live cell imaging

Controls temperature, humidity, and pH
Temperature control
• Range: RT - 45 °C
• Heating elements placed at the top and bottom of the
chamber to minimize temperature fluctuation
Includes Temperature Controller and Humidifier
Includes covers for AFM head and SICM head
Controls the pH of the Live Cell Chamber by supplying mixed CO2 gas


Universal Liquid Cell

Open/closed-cell environment for liquid imaging
Temperature control range:
0 °C to 110 °C (without liquid), 4 °C to 70 °C (with liquid)

Enhanced Acoustic Enclosure (AE) for NX-Bio

Enhanced Acoustic Enclosure (AE) for NX-Bio
Designed exclusively for the NX-Bio, the Integrated Acoustic Enclosure for SICM/AFM isolates
the systems from external acoustic and light noise as well as floor vibration for ultimate performance.
Includes active vibration isolation system with direct velocity feedback to cancel out the floor vibration
Active frequency: 0.7 Hz to 1 kHz
Best solution for high resolution in-liquid imaging
Ergonomic design for a convenient access to the instrument
Dimension: 1,000 × 1,030 × 1,460 mm (outer)
Weight: 661 kg

  • SICM Technology
  • AFM Technology
  • SICM + AFM

The SICM of Park NX-Bio is the next generation nanoscale microscope for life science

Park SICM can acquire biological images at nanoscale in physiological conditions, attaining high resolution of less than 200 nm. The biological images obtained from SICM are free from morphological deformation, which can occur from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or even AFM systems.


Park SICM uses nanopipettes

In Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy developed by Park Systems (Park SICM), a glass nanopipette filled with an electrolyte acts as an ion sensor that provides feedback on its location relative to a sample completely immersed in liquid. The pipette tip maintains its distance from the sample by keeping the ionic current constant. In comparison, AFM typically relies on interaction of forces between its probe tip and the sample.


AFM uses a micro-thin cantilever and tip as a probe. For Park SICM, the pipette is a probe with an inner diameter ranging from 80 to 100 nanometers for pipettes made of glass and 30-50 nanometers for those made of quartz.


No Force, Non-Contact Imaging in Liquid


Similar to Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) operating in ambient air, the Park SICM operates in liquid without making physical contact with the sample. Electrodes on either side of the sample and pipette produce ionic current that flows through the surrounding solution. A sensor measures the current flow, which decreases as the distance between the pipette and sample becomes smaller, and monitors the distance between the pipette and the sample to obtain the topology.



Park SICM Can Image All Cell Types

  • Park SICM can image even the softest cells such as the neuron cells, live—something that’s impossible with any other microscopy techniques.
  • SICM can even image suspended network of neurons
network-neuronalCourtesy of Prof. Ushiki (Niigata Univ., Japan)

Advanced Park AFM Technology Enables Accurate Force-distance Spectroscopy

Force-distance (FD) spectroscopy using an AFM is a beneficial tool to characterize bio-mechanical properties of various biological materials. In FD spectroscopy, the cantilever tip touches the sample surface with a user prescribed amount of force accurately applied using the AFM’s Z scanner. Park AFM’s industry leading low noise Z detector allows the researcher to control Z scanner movement to apply an exact amount of force very accurately to a sample surface during the FD spectroscopy. This enables the researcher to collect detailed bio-mechanical characterization data at the nano-newton scale.

  • Nanomechanics of Single Muscle Fibers by AFM
cell-mechanicInternational Nano-Conference(ICN+T), Basel (CH), 2006, Noemi Rozlosnik Technical University of Denmark
  • Force Distance Spectroscopy measures the mechanical interaction force between the tip end and the sample.
  • The force-distance curve is acquired by indenting the cantilever to sample surface.

Advanced Bio-mechanical Property Measurement by Calculating Elastic Modulus (Young’s Modulus)

The Herzian and Oliver Pharr models are calculated automatically from the Park AFM's accurate FD spectroscopy data to determine the elastic modulus (Young's modulus). Both of these calculation methods are included in Park XEI, the data analysis software in Park NX-Bio. They strengthen the biomechanical data verification of FD curves obtained in your experiments.

  • Acquiring the actual depth, sample deformed by applied force
    (separation - force curve)
  • Calculating Young's Modulus in Hertzian model

Park SICM and Park AFM Technologies Put Together

Outstanding Investigation Tool for Biological Research by Combining Physiological Morphology with Bio-Mechanical Property Measurements

Park NX-Bio combines Park SICM’s ability to interpret morphology under true physiological conditions and Park AFM’s capacity to acquire bio-mechanical property data (elastic modulus) accurately. This enables researchers to understand the fundamentals of their biological materials at a deeper level.


Discover the physiological phenomena of living cells at nanoscale

As a life scientist, you want to see how biological materials look like at nanoscale resolution and how soft they are in liquid and buffer conditions. Park NX-Bio enables that with its innovative in-liquid imaging Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) and its highly acclaimed Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) technology.

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More powerful physiological study solutions

Park NX-Bio is a powerful 3-in-1 bio-research tool that uniquely combines SICM with AFM and an inverted optical microscope (IOM) on the same platform. The modular design of the Park NX-Bio allows researchers to easily switch between its SICM and AFM capabilities. Designed for non-invasive in-liquid imaging, Park NX-Bio is the ideal tool for studying biological materials under physiological conditions. It combines the bio-mechanical property measurement capability of the AFM and nano imaging of the SICM in liquid, and the optical viewing of the IOM.


Easy to use, even for entry level researchers

Park NX-Bio has a user-friendly design and automated imaging software for SICM, so you won’t have to spend so much time for in-liquid imaging. The basic setup for operation can be learned through a simple training course in only a few hours. This allows you to quickly shift your time to conducting more advanced research for your subject.


Physiological Morphology Imaging for Biological Research Laboratories

Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM)

  • In-liquid imaging with ease
  • Delicate membrane morphology imaging at cellular and sub-cellular level
  • Biological tissue imaging in three-dimensional (3D) structure

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

  • High resolution bio-imaging for single molecule with True Non-Contact™ Mode
  • Force-distance (FD) spectroscopy for mechanical property characterization of various bio-materials
  • Accurate FD spectroscopy control with leading low noise Z detector
  • Force volume imaging

Live Cell Chamber

  • Optimal temperature, pH, humidity control to maintain viable bio-activity

Reliable and Repeatable Nano Bio-imaging for Better Experimental Verification

  • Non-invasive SICM to preserve naïve morphological information of soft bio-materials
  • Excellent imaging repeatability in automatically programmed and running software
  • Accurate height/depth analysis from 3D structure measurements


Full Integration with Inverted Optical Microscope for high productivity

  • Bright field and phase contrast for easier sample finding
  • Access to full range of objective lenses up to 100x magnification
  • Integration with confocal and fluorescence microscopy
  • Advanced image overlay functions

Park AFM Options