About ASM

Corporate Profile:

Advanced Surface Microscopy, Inc. provides several types of products and services:

In all of these areas, our main focus is AFM and related SPM (scanning probe microscopy) techniques.

Our customers are located throughout the world. Most work in industry, government facilities and universities as scientists, engineers and manufacturing technologists. Some are independent consultants or attorneys working on Intellectual Property matters (IP). Some are company owners, department heads, finance agents, or material managers seeking to convert idle assets (such as used scientific equipment) into cash.

Regardless of the work environment, the common theme of our interaction is the application of Atomic Force and Scanning Probe Microscopy to get answers and solve problems. We have helped customers who work on a very wide range of technologies, materials, processes and research topics. The scope of applications is so broad that:

  • Any surface you can touch is a potential candidate for study.
  • Any manufacturing industry can potentially benefit from Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).

Our Skilled Technical Staff:

All technical work is supervised by Dr. Donald A. Chernoff. Dr. Chernoff holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry (University of Chicago) and has more than 30 years industrial research experience; he has been active in the field of scanning probe microscopy since its development in 1986. His significant contributions in the area of laser spectroscopy and optics, electron microscopy and the practical application of microscopy to process improvement have resulted in over 50 publications and patents.
David Burkhead, has a B.S. in Physics (University of Akron) and has been providing distinguished SPM analysis and software development at ASM since 1997.

Our Experience:

Any surface that you can touch can, in theory, be examined by the AFM.  Since 1990, we have provided more than 1000 analytical projects for more than 200 customers, examining more than 100 types of materials and devices.

We are especially proud of two contributions to microscopy and materials analysis:

  • In November 1994, ASM became the first lab outside of Digital Instruments to make a tapping mode phase image and to recognize that it was important for materials analysis in general. ASM was the lone proponent of this new technique for about 1 year and pioneered many applications of phase imaging.
  • ASM invented a general method for making high precision and high accuracy measurements from images such as AFM images.  Patents were issued in 1997 and 1998.  DiscTrack PlusTM is based on this invention and quickly became the gold standard for measuring track pitch variation in optical discs.

Our laboratory is well-equipped.

We currently use:

  • Digital Instruments NanoScope IIIa, with Dimension 3100 large sample stage and phase extender module. We have the ability to do newer methods, such as phase imaging, tapping in liquid, surface potential, electric/magnetic field gradient, force modulation, nano-indentation and nano-scratching and force volume imaging.
  • Veeco/Digital Instruments NanoScope IV with Dimension 3100 AFM and a full set of electrical application modules including Scanning Capacitance and Conductive AFM (TUNA, C-AFM, SSRM) covering the current range from picoamps to 10s of microamps (pA to µA).
  • ASM’s high-precision calibration and measurement software
  • Highly accurate, traceable calibration standards
  • Various other optical microscopes and general lab equipment

Speedy Response:

Many projects are completed within one week and overnight analysis is available.


All work is handled confidentially. We will be happy to sign your non-disclosure agreement.

Miscellaneous services:

  • Consultation at your location and expert testimony are available.
  • Basic and Advanced SPM training available at your facility or ours.

(For services at your facility, we require a one day minimum fee at our established rate, plus expenses.)

You already have an AFM?

  • Clear your backlog by sending us overflow work
  • Focus on your research by referring service requests to us
  • Check out our line of SPM software enhancements
  • Buy probes in smaller quantities, or practice grades for training and testing
  • Utilize the latest capabilities at our lab to see if they can help you make your SPM more effective
  • Call us for advanced training or expert consultation
  • Browse our unique and useful supplies and accessories.
  • Replace or upgrade your AFM PC.

Thinking of Buying or Upgrading an AFM?

  • Consider our our inventory of thoroughly tested and carefully refurbished second-hand NanoScope SPM equipment

We are ready to work with you!

To see how we can help make your job easier, contact us today!