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Park NX10 SICM Module

The new standard for nanoscale imaging in aqueous environments

Park NX10 SICM provides
nanoscale imaging for a wide range of applications:

  • Cell Biology

    Cell morphology imaging, nano biopsy and injection

  • Analytical Chemistry

    Electrochemical reaction imaging by integration of scanning electrochemical microscopy

  • Electrophysiology

    Ion channel detection together with patch clamping

  • Neuroscience

    High resolution imaging of single neuron integrated with patch clamping



Park SICM Technology

Incredibly Non-invasive and Easy-to-use In-liquid Imaging

Truly non-invasive in-liquid imaging with SICM


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. The pipette has an inner diameter about 100 nanometers, made of glass.



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.

Our dedicated auto-imaging software makes scanning easier and more accurate

Automation for easier scanning

Streamline research and increase productivity with ARS (approach- retractscan) free from parameter controls, so you have less to worry about while scanning.


Steady pipette probe-sample distance control in nanoscale

By automatically refreshing its reference value before approaching each pixel, the stopping height of the pipette near the sample surface is not influenced by set-point drift.


Current-Distance(I-D) Spectroscopy

Acquiring Current-Distance Curve of SICM on the way of pipette approach (vertical direction movement) toward sample surface is beneficial to elucidate various biological and chemical phenomena in aqueous environment.

This beneficial application can be applied to a specific and interesting object of sample, identified with SICM’s non-invasive topography. Furthermore, utilizing ‘current-distance curve mapping’ function enables researcher examine and acquire the current-distance curve at multiple positions so that they can reach to deeper level understanding for biological and chemical reaction research.


Simple setup and operation

The SICM head can be easily added to Park NX10 platform by sliding it into a dovetail rail. This auto-engages a head connection that allows users to fully control device electronics, making setup and operation fast and simple. With the addition of two electrodes connecting to the pipette and sample buffer, researchers can generate and acquire ionic current signal through the pipette’s openings. Furthermore, a vertically aligned motorized z stage allows users to easily adjust the pipette’s height positioning.


Park NX10 SICM Module

The integration of the SICM and Park NX10 AFM system from Park Systems allows researchers to expand the depth of their research and easily perform nanoscale imaging in aqueous environments.


High speed Z-scanner with 15 μm scan range

Driven by a high-force piezoelectric stack and guided by a flexure structure, the standard Z-scanner has a high resonant frequency of more than 9 kHz.

Low noise Z position sensors

The industry leading low noise Z detector enables Park SICM to capture nanometer size feature of sample providing nano-scale precision of sample topography recording. This produces highly accurate sample topography, no edge overshoot and no need for calibration.

Low ionic current noise level of Park internal current amplifier

The internal current amplifier of the Park SICM provides the optimized current signal processing environment for accurately recording pico-ampere current signal of SICM feedback.


Intuitive Pipette Holder of SICM head with Exchange Kit


With our user interface viewpoint, Park NX10 SICM head has user-friendly and intuitive holder design. It is easy and simple to install and exchange pipette on Park SICM head without additional pipette holder. By inserting ‘exchange supporter’ to SICM head, it lifts up ‘spring-sheet pipette holder’ so that nano/micro-pipette can be inserted to holer in easy without pipette damage. This new design of pipette holding also led more clear in optical view and faster SICM imaging speed.

Faraday cage for stable SICM operation


Designed exclusively for Park NX10 SICM platform, the faraday cage effectively protects the pipette, head, and XY scanner from interference, providing a more stable scan environment. The transparent conductive mesh blocks electric fields and shields external static or non-static electromagnetic field of 50/60 Hz, while still allowing researchers to maintain a clear view of the pipette and sample.


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-scanner range: 15 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

Supported Modes

  • SICM Standard Imaging
  • DC (direct current) mode, ARS (apporach-retract-scan) mode
  • SICM Ionic Current Measurement

The quickest path to innovative research

Park NX10 produces data you can trust, replicate, and publish at the highest nano resolution. From sample setting to full scan imaging, measurement, and analysis, Park NX10 saves you time every step of the way. With more time and better data, you can focus on doing more innovative research.

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Park NX10 Specifications

Z Scanner

Guided high-force flexure scanner
Scan range : 15 µm (optional 30 µm)
Resolution : 0.015 nm
Position detector noise : 0.03 nm (bandwidth: 1 kHz)
Resonant frequency : > 9 kHz (typically 10.5 kHz)


XY Scanner

Single module flexure XY-scanner with closed-loop control
50 µm × 50 µm (optional 10 µm × 10 µm or 100 µm × 100 µm)
Resolution : 0.05 nm
Position detector noise : < 0.25 nm (bandwidth: 1 kHz)
Out-of-plane motion : < 2 nm (over 40 µm scan)



Z stage range : 25 mm
Focus travel range : 15 mm
XY stage travel range : 20 mm x 20 mm
Sample size : Open space up to 100 mm x 100 mm, thickness up to 20 mm
Sample weight : < 500 g



10x (0.21NA) ultra-long working distance lens (1µm resolution)
20x (0.42 NA) high-resolution, long working distance lens (0.6 µm resolution)
Direct on-axis vision of sample surface and cantilever
Field-of-view : 480 × 360 µm (with 10× objective lens)
CCD : 1 Mpixel, 5 Mpixel(optional)




Dedicated system control and data acquisition software
Adjusting feedback parameters in real time
Script-level control through external programs(optional)


AFM data analysis software



Signal processing

ADC : 18 channels
4 high-speed ADC channels
24-bit ADCs for X, Y, and Z scanner position sensor
DAC : 12 channels
2 high-speed DAC channels
20-bit DACs for X, Y, and Z scanner positioning
Maximum data size : 4096 x 4096 pixels

Integrated functions

3 channels of flexible digital lock-in amplifier
Spring constant calibration (Thermal method, optional)
Digital Q control

External signal access

20 embedded signal input/output ports
5 TTL outputs : EOF, EOL, EOP, Modulation, and AC bias


AFM Modes
(*Optionally available)

Standard Imaging

True Non-Contact AFM
PinPoint™ AFM
Basic Contact AFM
Lateral Force Microscopy (LFM)
Phase Imaging
Intermittent (tapping) AFM

Force Measurement*

Force Distance (FD) Spectroscopy
Force Volume Imaging

Dielectric/Piezoelectric Properties*

Electric Force Microscopy (EFM)
Dynamic Contact EFM (EFM-DC)
Piezoelectric Force Microscopy (PFM)
PFM with High Voltage

Mechanical Properties*

Force Modulation Microscopy (FMM)
Nanolithography with High Voltage
Piezoelectric Force Microscopy (PFM)

Magnetic Properties*

Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM)
Tunable MFM

Optical Properties*

Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS)
Time-Resolved Photo Current Mapping (PCM)

Electrical Properties*

Conductive AFM
IV Spectroscopy
Scanning Kelvin Probe Microscopy (SKPM/KPM)
SKPM with High Voltage
Scanning Capacitance Microscopy (SCM)
Scanning Spreading-Resistance Microscopy (SSRM)
Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM)
Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy (STS)
Time-Resolved Photo Current Mapping (PCM)

Chemical Properties*

Chemical Force Microscopy with Functionalized Tip
Electrochemical Microscopy (EC-STM and EC-AFM)


AFM Options

Temperature Control

Heating & Cooling Stage (-25ºC~180 ºC)
250 ºC Heating Stage
600 ºC Heating Stage

Liquid Cells

Universal Liquid Cell
Electrochemistry Cell
Open Liquid Cell

Liquid Probehand

Designed for imaging in general liquid environment
Resistant to most buffer solutions including acid
Contact and Non-contact AFM imaging in liquid

Clip-type Chip Carrier

Can be used with unmounted cantilever
Tip bias function available for Conductive AFM and EFM
Tip bias range : -10 V ~ 10 V

Magnetic Field Generator

Applies external magnetic field parallel to sample surface
Tunable magnetic field
Range : -300 ~ 300 gauss
Composed of pure iron core & two solenoid coils


Dimensions in mm

nx10 sys demensionnx10 ae demension

Adaptable to any project

Electrical and Other Sample Characterization Modes

The wide range of scanning modes and module design of the NX series allows it to be easily tailored to the needs of any scanning probe microscopy project.Electrical-and-other-sample-modes

Park NX10 has the most extensive range of SPM modes (*Optionally available)


Accurate AFM Solutions for General Research

Tall Sample 1.5 µm step height

  • Scan Mode: Non-contact mode, Topography from Z position sensor

Flat Sample Atomic steps of sapphire wafer

  • 0.3 nm step height, Scan Mode: Non-contact mode, Topography from Z position sensor

Hard Sample Tungsten film

  • Scan Mode: Non-contact mode, Topography from Z position sensor

Soft Sample Collagen fibril

  • Scan Mode: Non-contact mode, Topography from Z position sensor

Accurate AFM Measurement with Low Noise Z Detector

Low Noise Z Detector of Park nx10 AFM

  • Key technological advance and design feature of NX platform
  • Noise level is the lowest in the industry, unmatched by any other
  • Used as the default topography signal

The Z detector is the key technological advance of the new NX-series AFM. It is a new type of strain gauge sensor, innovated by Park. At 0.2 Angstrom, it is the best Z-detector noise in the industry. The noise level is low enough for Z-detector to be used as the default topography signal. If we compare the new NX-series AFM with previous generation of our AFM model, XE, one can tell the difference. If the Z-detector noise is too high, one cannot clearly observe the atomic steps on sapphire wafer. The height signal from the Z detector of the Park NX AFM has the noise level, identical to that of the Z-voltage-based topography.


Park NX Series

Z-detector-img-nx The noise level of the Z position detectors of the Park NX
Z-detector-img-nx2 The topography images of a sapphire wafer obtained from nx10

Park XE Series

Z-detector-img-xe The noise level of the Z position detectors of the Park XE
Z-detector-img-xe2 The topography images of a sapphire wafer obtained from XE-100

Accurate AFM Scan by True Non-Contact™ Mode

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

The Best User Convenience by Design

Easy Tip and Sample Exchange


The unique head design allows easy side access allowing you to easily snap new tips and samples into place by hand. The cantilever is ready for scanning without the need for any tricky laser beam alignment by using pre-aligned cantilevers mounted on to the cantilever tip holder.

Lightning Fast Automatic Tip Approach


Our automatic tip to sample approach requires no user intervention and engages in just 10 seconds after loading the cantilever. By monitoring the cantilever response to the approaching surface, Park NX10 can initiate an automatic fast tip to sample approach within 10 seconds of cantilever loading. Fast feedback by the high speed Z scanner and low noise signal processing by the NX electronics controller enable quick engagement to the sample surface without any user intervention. It just works, minimal user involvement required.

Easy, Intuitive Laser Beam Alignment


With our advanced pre-aligned cantilever holder, the laser beam is focused on the cantilever upon placement. Furthermore, the natural on-axis top-down view, the only one in the industry, allows you to easily find the laser spot. Since the laser beam falls vertically on the cantilever, you can intuitively move the laser spot along the X- and Y-axis by rotating its two positioning knobs. As a result, you can easily find the laser and position it on PSPD using our beam alignment user interface. From there, all you will need is a minor adjustment to maximize the signal to start acquiring the data.



Park NX10 features


12D Flexure-Guided Scanner with 50 µm x 50 µm Scan Range

2D-Flexure-Guided-ScannerThe XY scanner consists of symmetrical 2-dimensional flexure and high-force piezoelectric stacks provides high orthogonal movement with minimal out-of-plane motion as well as high responsiveness essential for precise sample scanning in the nanometer scale.

2High Speed Z Scanner with 15 µm Scan Range

Driven by a high-force piezoelectric stack and guided by a flexure structure, the standard Z scanner has a high resonant frequency of more than 9 kHz (typically 10.5 kHz), and Z-servo speed of more than 48 mm/sec tip velocity which enables accurate feedback. The maximum Z scan range can be extended from 15µm to 30µm with the optional long scan range Z scanner.

3Low Noise XYZ Position Sensors

The industry leading low noise Z detector replaces the applied Z voltage as the Topography signal. In addition, the low noise XY closed loop scan minimizes the forward and backward scan gap to be less than 0.15% of the scan range.

4Motorized XY Sample Stage

XY Sample Stage is motorized to make it easy for navigating and positioning the sample to the region of interest. This motorized stage has a resolution of 0.6um (using micro-stepping) on both axis.

5Step Scan Automation

Using the motorized sample stage, Step-and-Scan enables user-programmable multiple region imaging. The Step-and-Scan process consists of:


1) Scan an image
2) Lift the cantilever
3) Move the motorized stage to a user defined coordinate
4) Approach
5) Repeat the scan

This automated feature increases productivity by minimizing user assistance during repetitive imaging processes.

6Accessible Sample Holder

The Park NX10’s unique head design handles up to 50 mm x 50 mm x 20 mm (width x length x height) sample size, and it allows easy side access to the sample and tip.

7Expansion Slot for Advanced SPM Modes and Options

Advanced SPM modes are enabled by simply plugging an option module to the expansion slot. The modular design of the NX-series AFM allows option compatibility throughout its product line.

8Direct On-Axis High Powered Optics with Integrated LED Illumination

Custom designed objective lens with ultra long working distance (51 mm, 0.21 NA, 1.0 µm resolution) provides direction on-axis optical view with unprecedented clarity. The intuitive direct on-axis sample view from the top allows users to navigate the sample surface easily to find the target area. For a higher vision resolution the EL20x objective lens of Long Travel Head is used, which has 20 mm working distance, 0.42 NA, and 0.7 µm resolution. The enlarged sensor size of the CCD provides wide field of view of the sample without compromising the optics resolution. The software-controlled LED light source provides ample illumination onto the sample surface for clear sample observation.

9Auto Engage by Slide-to-Connect SLD Head

The AFM head is easily inserted or removed by sliding it along a dovetail rail. This automatically locks the head into its pre-aligned position and connects it to the control electronics with a positioning repeatability of a few microns. The low coherency of the Super Luminescence Diode (SLD) enables accurate imaging of highly reflective surfaces and precise measurements for pico-Newton Force-distance spectroscopy. The SLD wavelength eliminates interference issues for users interested in combining the AFM with experiments in the visible spectrum.

10Vertically Aligned Motorized Z Stage and Focus Stage

The motorized Z stage and the motorized focus stage both make it possible of engaging the cantilever to the sample surface while constantly maintaining a clear vision for the user. And because the focus stage is motorized and software controlled, it has the precision necessary for transparent samples and liquid cell applications.

High Speed 24-bit Digital Electronics

All NX-series AFMs are controlled and processed by the same NX electronics controller. The controller is an all digital, 24-bit high speed electronics unit, which insures the speed and accuracy of Park’s True Non-Contact ModeTM for accuracy and speed. With its low noise design and high speed processing unit, the controller is ideal for nanoscale imaging and precise voltage and current measurements. The embedded digital signal processing capability adds to the functionality and economics of our AFM solutions for advanced researchers.

24-bit signal resolution for XY and Z detectors
• 0.003 nm resolution in XY (50 μm XY)
• 0.001 nm resolution in Z (15 μm Z)

Embedded digital signal processing capability
• 3 channels of flexible digital lock-ins
• Spring constant calibration (thermal method)
• Digital Q control included

Intergrated signal access ports
• Dedicated and programmable signal input/output ports
• 7 inputs and 3 outputs

Park AFM Options