Agilent 5500 AFM
Agilent 5500 AFM
Data Sheet
Features and Benefits
• Exceptional environmental and
temperature control
The Agilent 5500 is the ideal
multiple-user research system for
atomic force microscopy. As the
high-performance flagship of
Agilent’s AFM instrument line,
the 5500 provides atomic-scale
resolution and a wealth of unique
technological features, including
patented top-down scanning,
ultra-precision temperature control,
and industry-leading environmental
control. It is well suited for life
science, materials science, polymer
science, electrical characterization,
and nanolithography applications.
• Superior scanning in fluids, gases,
or ambient conditions
• High precision AFM delivers atomic
• The utmost flexibility from a highly
modular system
Figure 1. STM image of HOPG showing
atomic structure. Scan size: 4 nm.
• Convenient vertical sample
• Electrochemistry
• Life science
• Materials science
• Polymer science
• Electrical characterization
• Nanolithography
• Nanografting
• Biotechnology
The intelligent, modular design of the
5500 permits the simple integration
of an inverted optical microscope,
numerous imaging modes,
customizable sample-handling plates,
an electrochemistry kit, and a video
microscope. In short, the versatile
5500 has been engineered to support
almost every scientific AFM capability
offered by Agilent Technologies.
MAC Mode
Agilent’s open- and closed-loop
scanners (two ranges available:
90 µm x 90 µm, or 9 µm x 9 µm) offer
outstanding linearity, accuracy,
versatility, and ease of use. These
multipurpose, top-down scanners are
ideal for imaging in fluids or air and
under controlled temperature and
environmental conditions. To deliver
high-resolution imaging results, a
balanced-pendulum design is utilized
that eliminates artifacts in the image
by keeping the relative position of
the laser spot fi xed in relation to the
cantilever throughout the scan cycle.
Agilent’s patented MAC Mode
provides the industry’s best
performance for imaging in fluids
and imaging soft samples, allowing
researchers to image submolecular
structures that cannot be resolved
with any other AFM technique.
MAC Mode is particularly useful in
application areas that require high
resolution and force sensitivity, such
as biology, polymers, and surface
science. AAC mode is included with
MAC Mode.
STM scanners (9 µm x 9 µm, or
1µm x 1µm) are also available for
use with the 5500. Agilent’s STM
scanners deliver excellent results
on a variety of conducting materials.
These low-current and ultra-lowcurrent STM scanners provide
stable imaging at pico-ampere and
sub-pico-ampere currents to resolve
individual atoms and molecules.
STM scanners take advantage of
the extreme distance sensitivity of
the tunneling current between two
conducting electrodes. By measuring
the tunnel-current variations as a
probe is scanned over a sample’s
surface, STM is able to deliver the
highest-resolution SPM images.
Open access to the scanner and
easy alignment of optics help
simplify use of the 5500. In addition,
easy-to-load scanner nose cones
make switching imaging modes quick
and convenient. The nose cones are
made from PEEK polymers, have low
chemical reactivity, and can be used
in a wide range of solvents. Their
easy interchangeability provides
tremendous flexibility.
Figure 2. AFM images of normal alkanes on graphite obtained in amplitude
modulation mode.
Patented MAC Mode III provides three
user-configurable lock-in amplifiers,
affording researchers virtually
limitless application possibilities
and unprecedented speed. It also
provides two expansion slots. MAC
Mode III has been designed to allow
single-pass imaging concurrent
with KFM/EFM. Simultaneous,
high-accuracy topography and surface
potential measurements are enabled
by a servo-on-height cantilever
approach that is not susceptible to
scanner drift. KFM/EFM is especially
useful for measuring dielectric films,
metal surfaces, piezoelectrics, and
conductor-insulator transitions.
Temperature Control
design isolates the sample plate
from the rest of the 5500 system.
An insulated ceramic fi xture protects
Agilent’s temperature controller
the surrounding apparatus from the
uses a patented thermal insulation
effects of heating or cooling, thus
and compensation design to
providing the most precise, stable
deliver the industry’s most precise
temperature control. It allows imaging temperature control available.
Temperature control is offered with
during temperature changes and
heating up to 250°C and cooling
is fully compatible with all imaging
down to -30°C.
modes, including those utilized in
fluid. The temperature controller’s
MAC Mode III also lets researchers
perform vertical or lateral modulation
studies and delivers a unique plot
of the oscillating amplitude vs.
frequency in contact. This capability
allows easy optimization of the
detection sensitivity for a broad range
of cantilever spring constants.
In addition to KFM/EFM and piezo
force, MAC Mode III allows the use
of higher resonance modes of the
cantilever. Higher harmonic imaging
provides contrast different from that
seen with fundamental amplitude
and phase signals. This technique
can be utilized to collect additional
information about mechanical
properties of the sample surface.
Figure 3. Topography, surface potential and, dC/dZ and dC/dV images of F12H20
adsorbates on Si. The images were obtained in the AM-FM mode. Scan area 300nm. The
contrast covers the height and potential changes in the 0–200nm and 0–1V ranges. The
contrast of dC/dZ maps is in relative units. The images in the columns from top to bottom
were obtained respectively at the probe-sample distances of 1nm, 7nm, 15nm, and 30nm.
Environmental Control
Agilent’s industry-leading
environmental isolation chamber (EIC)
has been specifically designed to meet
the many requirements of intricate,
demanding atomic force microscopy
and scanning probe microscopy
research. The EIC mounts directly to
the 5500 and provides a hermetically
sealed sample compartment that is
completely isolated from the rest of
the system. Eight inlet/outlet ports
permit the flow of many different
gases into or out of the sample area.
Agilent scanners reside outside
the EIC, so they are protected from
contamination, harsh gases, solvents,
caustic liquids, and other damaging
experimental conditions. With the
EIC, humidity levels can be controlled,
oxygen levels monitored and
controlled, and reactive gases easily
introduced into and purged from the
sample chamber.
Figure 4. 5500 AFM with
environmental chamber.
Figure 5. Topography images of multiarm star block copolymer macromolecules at low
humidity (a), at high humidity (b), at high humidity after 12 hours (c), and at low humidity
again (d). Scans are 2 micron.
Sample Plates
The unique design of Agilent’s sample
plates delivers superior sample
stability and ease of use. Magnetic
suspension provides easy loading
and eliminates mechanical drift. The
stand-alone plates permit simple
sample mounting and applicationspecific plate customization. A
modular design allows the plates to
be used with an unparalleled number
of options, such as open liquid
cells, flow-through cells, salt-bridge
cells (electrochemistry), Petri
dishes (live-cell imaging), and glass
microscope slides.
Figure 6. Sample plates: high temperature
plate (left), coverslip and liquid cell plate
(middle), Petri dish plate (right).
Electrochemical SPM
Agilent’s electrochemical SPM
option includes a complete kit for
high-resolution in situ EC-SPM
experiments. Electrochemical SPM
offers a low-noise potentiostat/
galvanostat for in situ EC-STM and
EC-AFM. When combined with
temperature control, it is possible
to obtain valuable information about
electrochemical processes that
would otherwise be inaccessible.
The addition of environmental
control allows imaging with no
dissolved oxygen in either aqueous or
non-aqueous solutions.
Figure 7. Corrosion study of a polished metal surface: rest potential (a), after two cycles
(b), after three cycles (c), and after six cycles (d).
Agilent’s exclusive PicoTREC
molecular recognition tool kit is
designed for use with MAC Mode.
The option includes specialized
hardware, electronics, consumables,
and accessories. With PicoTREC,
researchers can quickly distinguish
between species that are engaged in
molecular binding events and those
that are not engaged in molecular
binding events, thus eliminating
the need to perform slow and
tedious force-volume spectroscopy
experiments to get the same results.
Scientists can use PicoTREC with
the 5500 AFM to explore dynamic
properties of biological systems
(antibody-antigen, ligand-receptor,
drug-receptor, DNA-protein,
DNA-DNA, and so forth) by imaging
patterns of molecular binding and
adhesion on surfaces.
Figure 8. PicoTREC imaging of the micropatterned avidin molecules. Topographic images
(above, left), and corresponding recognition images (above, right).
Figure 9. Accuracy and reproducibility using PiocTREC anti-His3 on AFM and chromatin
on glutaraldehyde mica. PicoTREC can repeat an experiment in a matter of minutes. In the
top image blue indicates misses and red indicates false hits. In the bottom image green
indicates hits. There was five minutes between scans and number of hits went down on
the rescan (96% to 92%) and the false positive rate was 2.8%.
Images courtesy of Dr. Stuart Lindsay based on results generated in his lab by Dr. Hongda
Wang at ASU.
The 5500 utilizes Agilent’s PicoView,
an imaging and analysis software
package that offers 3D rendering
capabilities. PicoView allows
complete control of all scanning
parameters and provides the
flexibility required for more complex
experiments. An integrated script
editor and sample scripts are also
For additional interactive
post-processing capabilities,
Agilent’s easy-to-use Pico Image
Basic imaging and analysis software
package includes all of the features
and functions required to build a basic
surface analysis report on multi-layer
measurement data that is input from
the 5500. The document consists of
a set of frames containing surfaces,
profiles extracted from surfaces, the
results of applying filters and other
operators, analytical studies, and 2D
and 3D parameters. A measurement
identity card, screen notes, and
illustrations can be added to each
document. Pico Image Advanced and
Expert packages are also available.
Ultra High Resolution Imaging
on the 5500
Figure 10. STM image of C36H74 alkanes
on graphite. Scan size: 8 nm.
Figure 11. AFM images of C18H38 and C390H782 lamellae on graphite obtained in the
contact mode. The spacings, which are related to the lamellae and individual chains, are
distinguished in the image of C18H38 lamellae (left). The zigzag pattern along the closely
packed alkane chains is seen in the image of the ultra long alkane – C390H782 (right).
The Agilent 5500 not only provides the
researcher flexibility and modularity
but also the highest imaging
resolution. The 5500 has excellent
signal-to-noise characteristics, low
thermal drift and excellent control of
the tip-sample forces. Figures 9-11 are
just a few of the sub-100nm features
seen in a variety of polymers.
Figure 12. AFM images of C242H486 lamellae on graphite obtained in the contact mode.
Several slightly twisted lamellae were detected in the images of C242H486, A number
of linear defects caused by the missing chains or their parts are also distinguished in
the100nm image (left). The individual alkane chains, which are extended betweenthe
edges of the lamellae, are also noticed in the 55nm image (right).
AFM Instrumentation from
Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies offers high-precision,
modular AFM solutions for research,
industry, and education. Exceptional
worldwide support is provided by
experienced application scientists and
technical service personnel. Agilent’s
leading-edge R&D laboratories are
dedicated to the timely introduction and
optimization of innovative and easy-to-use
AFM technologies.
Note: Specifications shown are for open-loop operation. Closed-loop
scanners are also available.
Large Multi-Purpose Scanner
Scanning Range
Z Range
Vertical Noise
90µm x 90µm
Small Scanner
Scanning Range
Z Range
Vertical Noise
9µm x 9µm
Sample Plate Sizes
Kinematic mount translatable plate
Navitar video camera
Vibration Isolation
Ten 16-bit channels
5 channels ± 215 V, 24-bits
Four 24-bit channels, ± 10V
100 - 120VAC or
220 - 240VAC 1A; 50 - 60Hz
Latin America
United States
(877) 894 4414
305 269 7500
(800) 829 4444
Asia Pacific
Hong Kong
1 800 629 485
800 810 0189
800 938 693
1 800 112 929
0120 (421) 345
080 769 0800
1 800 888 848
1 800 375 8100
0800 047 866
1 800 226 008
Europe & Middle East
43 (0) 1 360 277 1571
32 (0) 2 404 93 40
45 70 13 15 15
358 (0) 10 855 2100
0825 010 700*
*0.125 €/minute
Facilities Specifications
Acoustic Noise
Temperature Variation
Humidity Variation
<75 dBc
Does not exceed ± 2° F
Does not exceed ± 20% RH
49 (0) 7031 464 6333
1890 924 204
39 02 92 60 8484
31 (0) 20 547 2111
34 (91) 631 3300
0200-88 22 55
0800 80 53 53
United Kingdom
44 (0) 118 9276201
Other European Countries:
Product specifications and descriptions in this
document subject to change without notice.
© Agilent Technologies, Inc. 2010
Printed in USA, October 12, 2010
5989-6405EN RevB
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