Highest Resolution Electrical Measurements



Variations in conductivity

or resistivity


Variations in local

dielectric properties

N-Doping Concentration

Carrier concentration and

carrier type

Unprecedented Sensitivity

Industry's highest sensitivity lets you image the hard stuff. Industry's lowest noise floor lets you see the small stuff.

Single scan - 6 channels of data

  * sMIM-C: Capacitance/Permittivity variation

  * sMIM-R: Resistivity/Conductivity variation

  * dC/dV Amplitude: Carrier concentration

  * dC/dV Phase: Carrier type +/-

  * dR/dV Amplitude: Carrier concentration

  * dR/dV Phase: Carrier type +/-

Nano Resolution

Transform your AFM into a high resolution, nanoscale local electrical property microscope.

ScanWaveTM Advantages

Subsurface Imaging

Imaging of buried structures underneath the sample surface is possible thanks to the long range nature of sMIM.

Different materials, simultaneously

Be it conductors, semi-conductors, dielectrics, or insulators, ScanWave™ can handle it all. Different materials, even of different classes, can be imaged in the same scan.

Minimal Sample Prep Time

Since it is not necessary for the sample to be in a conductive path or under current flow or even for the feature of interest to be exposed, samples can be imaged with minimal prep time.

No Conductive Path Needed

No ground or conductive path needed to get your electrical characterization.

Contact and Non-Contact Mode Imaging

Electrical measurements can be made in tapping contact imaging modes, even during force distance curves. However you want to scan, ScanWave™ can get the electrical data you need.

Easy to Use Software

Scan management and configuration is a bliss.


Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM)

Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM) is a new mode of imaging using an atomic force microscope (AFM). PrimeNano’s ScanWave sMIM modules produce high quality images of local electrical properties with better than 50 nm resolution. The core of our technical approach is to utilize microwave reflections from a nm scale region of the sample directly under the MIM probe. The magnitude and phase of these reflections is dominated by the local electrical properties. The ScanWave sMIM measures these reflections as a function of position to create images of variations in dielectric constant and conductivity.


The ScanWave™ system provides two channels as output to the host AFM that can then be viewed as images in the AFM software. The two channels represent the permittivity (ε) and the conductivity (σ) of the imaged area. If the sample is a doped semiconductor (a non-linear) material, ScanWave™ can provide the dC/dV amplitude (carrier concentration) and phase (carrier type: n or p) as well as the dR/dV amplitude.

Why Microwave Frequencies

Using Microwave frequencies to look at a material’s dielectric constant and conductivity gives a high degree of contrast compared to other radiation energies. They are particularly good at probing the energetics of localized δ and ε without disturbing the sample's intrinsic properties. Also due to their long wavelengths, microwaves have a useful long range sensitivity (on the order of 100’s nm’s) which can image buried structures. This allows the scanning of a sample in either a contact or non-contact mode.

How ScanWave™ Works

  1. ScanWave™ sends microwaves to the probe tip via a fully shielded path.
  2. The microwaves create a near-field electromagnetic wave at the the probe tip that interacts with the sample surface and subsurface.
  3. After the near-field interacts with the sample, a portion of the microwave power is reflected back through the same shielded path to the ScanWave™ electronics for filtering, demodulating, and processing.
  4. As the probe moves across the sample, the reflected microwaves vary in amplitude and phase due to variations in the local electrical properties under the probe tip.
  5. The ScanWave™ software calibrates the reflected signal from the probe-sample interface to create a capacitive and a resistive image that are displayed by the AFM simultaneously with the topography image or images.

Our Probes

PrimeNano manufactures its own shielded probes. We use a wafer scale MEMS fabrication process to manufacture probes with co-axially shielded cantilevers and solid metal probe tips. The probes are coated with metal on both sides and have a center conductive line. The probes have 50nm tip radius to balance the requirements of topographical resolution and sensitivity of the electrical signal. Since this is a near-field signal response, it is dependent on the volume of material in the localized electromagnetic field at the probe tip-sample interface. If the tip is too sharp the reflected signal is too small. The typical spatial resolution of the electrical measurements depends somewhat on the electrical properties of the sample. For example, for doped and metallic samples we have resolved electrical features well below 20 nm. See our Application section for examples of actual sMIM measurements, or visit our Probe store.

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