Omegascope – nanoRaman/TERS

HORIBA’s leading Raman technology is now integrated with AIST-NT’s scanning probe microscopy (SPM). The NanoRamanTM platform integrates Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) that can provide physical sample information on the nanometer scale, including topography, hardness, adhesion, friction, surface potential, electrical and thermal conductivity, temperature and piezo response (among many others), near-field optical techniques (SNOM or NSOM), Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM), tuning fork techniques (Shear-force and Normal-force imaging modes), electrochemistry, all together with the chemical information obtained from Raman spectroscopy. The end result is a more comprehensive sample characterization in one versatile instrument, for fast simultaneous co-localized measurements and Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS)..

TERS brings you the best of both worlds: the chemical specificity of Raman spectroscopy with imaging at spatial resolution typically down to 10nm.

Key Features

  • Infrared AFM diode at 1300 nm: no optical interference with the spectroscopy detection
  • Au and Ag TERS probes commercially available
  • Guaranteed TERS imaging specifications
  • Optical access with high NA objective lens (0.7) from both top and side
  • Simple tip exchange; fully automated alignment and tuning: no knobs to adjust to align the AFM laser
  • High resonance- frequency scanner for high speed imaging and low sensitivity to acoustic vibrations
  • Short pathlength and closed loop objective scanner laser alignment: brings higher throughput and outstanding longterm stability, critical for TERS imaging

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The AFM optical platform

The OmegaScope is a state-of-the-art turn-key solution that combines Optics and ultra-resolution multi-range research AFM. The OmegaScope AFM is an advanced research instrument that provides path for researchers in spectroscopy and photonics. It is available in reflection configurations providing direct top and side optical access. The flexibility of the OmegaScope platform offer almost endless possibilities in correlation of high spatial resolution spectroscopies (Raman, Photoluminescence, Fluorescence) and AFM imaging modes including nanoRaman/TERS.

No inteference of AFM registration laser with Raman excitation laser

1300 nm AFM laser does not interfere with the most popular UV, visible and near-IR Raman excitation lasers (364-830 nm) and eliminates any parasitic influence on VIS light-sensitive biological and photovoltaic samples.

Direct (below objective) pathway to cantilever

The OmegaScope system has the AFM and optical channels completely separated. Such independence does not limit the required wavelength of Raman laser and simplifies a lot the whole system adjustment in comparison with the systems where the AFM laser comes through the same high aperture objective as the Raman excitation laser. The user can easily re-focus the high aperture objective without any additional re-adjustment of the AFM laser-to-cantilever setup. The design of the OmegaScope also provides much more AFM stability and less sensitivity to any vibrations and acoustic noise.

Easy, quick and repeatable cantilever’s adjustment

The excitation laser to cantilever’s tip adjustment has never been so easy and quick before due to the fixed AFM laser design. Moreover, as soon as a new cantilever of the same type is installed, the same spot (within a few microns repeatability) on your sample surface can be easily found and scanned without any extra searching steps.

Automated AFM registration system adjustment

The SmartSPM scanning probe microscopes is the core of the reflection configuration of the OmegaScope system and at the same time is the first SPM with the automated/motorized laser-cantilever-photodiode alignment designed from the ground up for coupling with HORIBA spectrometers.

Fast scanning

Scanner resonant frequencies >7kHz in XY and >15kHz in Z are the highest in the AFM industry today.

Optimized scanner control algorithms make possible to scan much faster than ever before!

Vibration stability, Acoustic stability, Fast scanner with high resonant frequencies

Fast response time, low drift and metrological traceability. The best in the industry flexure based closed loop scanner with 100x100x15 micron scan range allows measurements of large areas and in the same time provides the true molecular resolution imaging. The high mechanical stiffness of the scanner and the whole AFM is the key to the outstanding OmegaScope performance without active vibration protection. These unique properties also allow the realization of special and more complicated scanning algorithms such as Top mode. In this mode the probe is lifted up above the sample surface between scanning points. In each scanning point the probe is approached back to the surface. The scanning signal is measured right after the tip oscillation amplitude reaches the set threshold. It makes possible to avoid any lateral force interactions and for example secure TERS probes, but at the same time keep the scanning rate up to 1 Hz.

Ease of sample replacement

The OmegaScope AFM platform design allows changing samples with the AFM head and cantilever holder in place. It seriously improves the reliability of experiments and protects the system from possible operator’s mistakes during such kind of routine procedures.

Top and side optical access

Top and Side optical access to the tip-sample area is provided to be able to explore the full capabilities of correlated AFM and spectroscopic imaging using IR, VIS and UV high NA planapochromat objectives (top objective: up to 0.7 NA; side objective: up to 0.7 NA), which enable confocal detection of optical signal from the sample surface in a wide spectral range and the minimum size of excitation laser spot area. The properly designed side optical channel of the OmegaScope system plays an extremely important role in successful TERS and TEPL experimentation as it provides a much more significant Z component of the optical field and effectively excites the Plasmon resonance in the tip-sample junction.

Top and side objective scanners

To perfectly align the AFM tip and Raman laser beam, the flexure-guided closed loop XYZ objective scanners can be installed in the top, side and bottom channels. Moreover, such solution provides the highest possible resolution, long-term stability and alignment automation, plus a wider spectral range with the less number of optical components in the light input/output system and consequently the less waste of useful optical signal.

Built-in DFM measuring made with PLL

The Dynamic Force Microscopy (DFM) mode comes as the standard option of the OmegaScope system. A frequency modulation (FM) detector for this mode is designed by utilizing the phase-locked loop (PLL) circuit built-in in the AIST-NT’s controller. Using DFM one can reliably maintain the minimal tip-sample interactions (i.e. operation in the field of attractive forces) which can appear very crucial for successful TERS and Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) experiments.

STM, Conductive AFM and SNOM options

Simultaneously with spectroscopy measurements OmegaScope can be equipped with the unique module, using which one can measure local currents in AFM or STM in three linear ranges (1 nA, 100nA and 10 uA). These ranges can be switched within the software, where for each of them the required bandwidth can be selected from 100Hz to 7 kHz. The conductive module noise level of 60 fA in the measuring range up to 1 nA and 1300 nm AFM laser just sets the new standard for conductivity measurements in the field of photovoltaics.

In addition to the exceptional flexibility of the OmegaScope platform, the SNOM option based on the tuning fork feedback design can be easily included. Besides the standard SNOM experiments, you may follow the classics of nano-optics, especially apertureless SNOM, with a system for near-field fluorescence imaging using a metal tip illuminated with femtosecond laser pulses of proper polarization.

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