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neaSNOM Microscope


neaSNOM Microscope Based on neaspec’s revolutionary technology, neaSNOM is the only microscope on the market capable of imaging & spectroscopy in the visible, infrared and even terahertz spectral region at only 10 nm spatial resolution.
This makes neaSNOM the ideal tool for cutting-edge nanoanalytic applications such as chemical nano-composition (nano-FTIR-mode), nano-plasmonic fields, nanoscale stress/strain fields and free charge carrier distributions. Many scientists around the world trust in technology from neaspec for their publications in Nature, Science and other high impact journals.
Optimized to combine optical imaging & spectroscopy with AFM Built-in patented optical background suppression for high-quality data Desigend by the leading experts of apertureless near-field microscopy
  • Applications
  • AFM
  • s-SNOM
  • Controller

Tracking slow nanolight in natural hyperbolic metamaterial slabs

neaspec’s neaSNOM was used by researchers at the CIC nanoGUNE to visualize how light moves in time and space inside an exotic class of matter known as hyperbolic materials. For the first time, ultraslow pulse propagation and backward propagating waves in deep subwavelength-scale thick slabs of boron nitride – a natural hyperbolic material for infrared light – could be observed.

Terahertz near-field microscopy below 30nm spatial resolution

neaspec GmbH and Fraunhofer IPM have developed a ready-to-use terahertz system that is capable of achieving a spatial resolution of 30 nanometers in combination with neaspec’s near-field microscope – neaSNOM

Nano-imaging probes molecular disorder in organic semiconductors

Using nano-FTIR neaSNOM it could be shown that thin-film organic semiconductors contain regions of structural disorder. These could inhibit the transport of charge and limit the efficiency of organic electronic devices.

Ultrafast spectroscopy of electronic nano-motion in nanowires

The neaSNOM microscope equipped with a THz illumination unit were applied in ultrafast spectroscopy to take snapshots of super-fast electronic nano-motion. The scientists were able to record a 3D movie of electrons moving at the surface of a semiconductor nanowire.

Controlling Graphene plasmons with resonant antennas & conductivity patterns

neaspec’s neaSNOM microscope allows for launching and controlling light propagating along graphene, opening new venues for extremely miniaturized photonic devices and circuits

nano-FTIR probes secondary structure of single protein complexes

nano-FTIR beats the diffraction limit in infrared bio-spectroscopy and probes secondary structure in individual protein complexes

nano-FTIR – Nanoscale Infrared Spectroscopy at 20nm spatial resolution

neaSNOM/nano-FTIR allows infrared spectroscopy with a broadband laser-source at a spatial resolution of 20nm that is up to 1000-times better than in conventional FT-IR infrared spectroscopy.

Plasmon Mapping on Graphene with neaSNOM

Two independent research teams have successfully used their neaSNOM infrared near-field microscopes for laying down a ghost: visualizing Dirac plasmons propagating along graphene, for the first time

Mapping local conductivity in semiconductor devices

Near-field microscopy at infared and terahertz frequencies allows to quantify free carrier properties at the nanoscale without the need of electrical contacts.

Identification of materials in semiconductor devices

Based on their unique near-field spectral signature infrared-active materials can be identified with neaSNOM.

Mapping optical fields of resonant particles

Near-field imaging of resonant gold nanodiscs reveals a dipolar oscillation mode.

Chemical characterization of polymer blends

Near-field images of a polymer blend made of Polystyrene (PS) and Poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) reveal the nanostructured phase separation of the materials.

Characterization of optical surface waves

Infrared near-field microscopy allows to study the propagation of surface waves in the infrared spectral regime. Amplitude and phase resolved near-field images reveal local interference effects or enable the determination of the complex wave vector of surface waves. Surface waves can be excited in the mid-infrared spectral regime by e.g. metal structures on Silicon Carbide…

Studying superlensing and meta-materials

Direct verification of superlensing can be achieved by near-field microscopy as the local field transmitted by a superlens can be investigated in the near-field of the lens

Infrared nanofocusing on transmission lines

Direct visualization of infrared light transportation and nanofocusing by miniature transmission lines is possible by amplitude- and phase-resolved near-field microscopy.

Analyzing optical nano-antennas

Amplitude and phase resolved near-field mapping of the local field distribution on resonant IR antennas can be used to analyze the antenna design and its functionality.

Nanoscale phase transitions

The high spatial resolution of infrared near-field microscopy allows for detailed studies of phase transitions in materials like the insulator-to-metal transition of vanadium dioxide (VO2) thin films.

Non-invasive imaging of stress/strain fields

Mapping nanoscale stress/strain fields around nanoindents in the surface of Silicon Carbide (SiC) crystals. Compressive/tensile strain occurs in bright/dark contrast respectively.

Investigating local conductivity of semiconductor nanowires

The local conductivity of nanowires can be investigated by infrared near-field microscopy.

Studying single viruses

Recording “fingerprint” spectra of single viruses and polymer nanobeads allows for identification of individual particles.

Spectroscopic indentification of materials

neaSNOM enables spectroscopic identification of materials at the nanometer scale.

nano-FTIR – Nanoscale Infrared Spectroscopy with a thermal source

neaSNOM/nano-FTIR allows infrared spectroscpy with a thermal source at a spatial resolution of 100nm that is up to 200 times better than in conventional FT-IR infrared spectroscopy.

Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

  • Compact size X,Y,Z: 30 cm x 45 cm x 30 cm 
  • Coarse positioning ranges: X = 60 mm, Y = 15 mm, and Z = 8 mm
  • Coarse positioning resolution: < 200 nm
  • Scanning sample design to allow AFM-tip illumination
  • Scan-area: 100 µm x 100 µm X,Y closed-loop scan range
  • Scan-resolution X,Y: 0.2 nm (open-loop), 0.4 nm (closed-loop)
  • Scan-speed: up to 20 µm/s
  • Scan-time for e.g. 100 x 100 pixel = 1 x 1 µm image : 35s
  • Noise-limited Z-resolution (RMS): ≤ 0.2 nm 
  • Scan Z-range: 2.5 µm
  • Maximum sample size: 40 x 50 x 15 mm (X,Y,Z)


AFM Probing Head

  • Intermittent contact mode for optical background suppression
  • Ultra-high optical access to AFM tip (180° horizontal, 60° vertical)
  • Motorized positioning (X,Y,Z) for easy AFM-tip alignment
  • Positioning ranges: X = 30 mm, Y = 3 mm, and Z = 4 mm
  • Positioning resolution X,Y,Z: < 200 nm
  • Accepts AFM cantilevers up to 500 kHz resonance frequency


Optical High-Resolution Brightfield Microscope

  • Screening of region of interest (ROI) with < 0.8 µm spatial resolution
  • Field of view diagonal: 0.75 mm
  • High-speed 5 Mpixel CCD-camera


AFM-Tip Illumination & Light Collection Unit (s-SNOM)

  • Patented parabolic mirror design for focusing & collection of light
  • Standard optical aperture NA = 0.39
  • Motorized XYZ-positioner of parabolic mirror objective for precise focusing of external light source to AFM-tip
  • Positioning ranges: X, Y, Z = 4 mm
  • Positioning resolution X,Y,Z: < 100 nm
  • Accepts visible, infrared & even THz illumination wavelength
  • Patented dual-port design for imaging & spectroscopy

Available Upgrades

Position Sensors for Motorized Parabolic Mirror

  • Enables simplified and faster focusing of light to AFM-tip
  • Adds optical sensors to X,Y,Z parabolic mirror adjustment axes
  • Sensor resolution: 10 nm

High NA Parabolic Mirror Objective

  • Improves S/N-ratio by higher numerical aperture (NA=0.46)
  • Accepts visible, infrared & even THz illumination wavelength
  • Supports patented dual-port design for nanoscale imaging & spectroscopy
  • Recommended for light-source systems with low S/N-ratio 


neaSNOM Scan Controller & Optical Signal Processing Unit

  • Synchronization of AFM mechanics with optical signals
  • Patented signal processing for optical background supression
  • Two custom ADC inputs for internal signal analysis
  • Four custom DAC outputs for external signal analysis
  • Requires neaSNOM User-PC (NPC-2) for operation


neaSNOM User PC

  • Real-time mechanical & optical signal visualization & data aquisition
  • 2 x 23” displays for user-friendly operation
  • Integrated user remote support 


neaSCAN Control & Data Acquisition Software

  • Real-time control and scan software for AFM and optical signals
  • Optical imaging and spectroscopy software modules 
  • Supports 1D, 2D and 3D scans
  • Pre-installed data visualization and analysis software (Gwyddion)