SPM Users’ Meeting in Mainz

It was an honor and privilege to host our first SPM Users’ Meeting in Mainz this year, in the group of Prof. Angelika Kuehnle. This 2-day gathering was a time for intense knowledge sharing among Zurich Instruments’ Users with invited talks, tutorials in smaller groups and a poster session.

Invited Talks

A range of invited talks described the state-of-the art in various SPM fields such as AM- and FM-KPFM, time-resolved experiments, sub-molecular resolution imaging and multifrequency AFM, as well as offering a side-by-side comparison between AM- and FM-AFM. It was also an opportunity for ScientaOmicron to describe in more details the integration of the MFLI and MF-PLL into their new Matrix SPM Controller. Here are some pictures from the invited talks; some of reference papers are provided at the bottom of this page:

pump-probe KPFM

A mind-opening talk from Lukas Eng [2-3] on skyrmions & time-resolved KPFM

Daniel Ebeling’s talk [4-5] on sub-molecular imaging with higher eigenmodes

Lab Demo

There were definitely many highlights during this event but the step-by-step demonstration of AM versus FM-AFM data analysis from Hagen Soengen, followed by a real lab demonstration of quantitative 3D AFM imaging in liquid [1] definitely made a lasting impression on the audience. Below are some images from the presentation and picture taken during the demo session:

Averaged Force, Stiffness and Damping in AM and FM-AFM modes. Vertical slice from a 3D map. Author: Hagen Soengen

3D-AFM imaging in the Kuehnle’s lab


In parallel, 3 Tutorial sessions were offered featuring different Zurich Instruments platforms applied to SPM:

  1. MFLI featuring PLL and PID loops for AFM, Threshold Units, as well as a brief API introduction
  2. HF2PLL together with an Omicron VT-AFM [manned by Ralf Bechstein] to illustrate the KPFM mode as well as the native LabOne imaging mode (see screenshot below)
  3. UHFLI with AWG tutorial featuring band excitation with chirp and digitizer, as well as several time-resolved techniques


Tutorial showing the LabOne Imaging mode (from SW trigger Grid mode) with a real microscope (click to enlarge)

Daniel’s personal approach to MFLI for SPM :)

The ambience and success of this first event in Germany led spontaneously to a call for a second one in April 2018. Thanks to the generous cooperation from Lukas Eng, it is planned to take place in Dresden and will therefore be accessible to our Czech and Polish customers as well.

Some references covered during this meeting

[1] H. Söngen, R. Bechstein, A. Kühnle, Quantitative atomic force microscopy, J. Phys. Condens. Matter 29 (2017) 274001

[2] S. Kehr et al. ACS Photonics, 2016, 3 (2016), pp 20–26

[3] J. Murawski et al. J. Appl. Phys. 118, 244502 (2015)

[4] D. Ebeling et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 183102 (2017)

[5] D. Ebeling et al. ACS Nano 7, 10387 (2013)

[6] G. Günzburger, PhD Thesis, Universität Basel 2016: [link]

[7] V. Bergmann et al., Local Time-Dependent Charging in a Perovskite Solar Cell, ACS Appl. Mat. Interfaces, 8(30), 19402 (2016)


Special thanks to our local host Angelika Kuehnle and in particular to Hagen Soengen as well as Steffi Klassen, Stefanie Wild and Nuri Blachnik for their great organizational help and coordination. We are also very grateful to our great invited speakers and contributors: Ralf Bechstein, Daniel Ebeling, Lukas Eng, Thilo Glatzel, Martin Rohmer and Stefan Weber. From the ZI side, it was great to be working with teammates Paolo Navaretti, Daniel Wright and Eva Rojcek.