Strømlingo DIY AFM Kit - A Nano Microscope For Everyone

by Edwin Hwu & Phil Wu

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Missing avatar By Edwin Hwu & Phil Wu
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About

    Scanning probe microscopy such as scanning tunneling microscope (STM), atomic force microscope (AFM) is a Nobel Prize-winning technology that lets us explore the Nanoworld (down to the tens of nanometers or 10^-9 meters!) and even the Atomic world! Since 1986, commercial AFMs cost from 30,000 ~ 300,000 USD, which is expensive! 

    Normal optical microscope can achieve maximum 1,000x magnification due to the diffraction limit of light. 

We can "see" features only in micron range with an optical microscope
We can "see" features only in micron range with an optical microscope

     The AFM uses a very sharp tip (with end radius around 3 nm) which can scan over nano-structures, giving the AFM a magnification of over 1,000,000x.

The AFM touches nano-scale structures with a very sharp probe, which has 1000 times magnification more than an optical microscope.
The AFM touches nano-scale structures with a very sharp probe, which has 1000 times magnification more than an optical microscope.

      The tip of AFM probe scan/touch over nano scale structure, normally we use laser beam deflection method to detect the interaction between the AFM probe and the sample:

                                      
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    Many research groups around the world try to build their own AFM but it's not easy. Even though you can find all the details needed to build an AFM on the internet, it's still hard!

    With 4 disruptive technologies (see below), we developed the world's first AFM which can be assembled by junior high school students and our Strømlingo DIY AFM has demonstrated nano-scale image resolution:

Optical image and Nano-scale image of an Eraser. The school children are very creative to find structures they are interested.
Optical image and Nano-scale image of an Eraser. The school children are very creative to find structures they are interested.
Nano-scale image of LEGO brick surface measureed by the Strømlingo DIY AFM. The scanning result is printed by a 3d printer.
Nano-scale image of LEGO brick surface measureed by the Strømlingo DIY AFM. The scanning result is printed by a 3d printer.

       The Strømlingo DIY AFM can easily image the PM 2.5 air pollution particles in Beijing.

Imaging the PM 2.5 particles by the Strømlingo DIY AFM in Beijing
Imaging the PM 2.5 particles by the Strømlingo DIY AFM in Beijing

   Not only are school children very happy to explore the nanoworld, some professors in renowned universities around the globe are also interested in the Strømlingo DIY AFM.

Professors, PhD students around the world like to modify Strømlingo DIY AFM for their own research.
Professors, PhD students around the world like to modify Strømlingo DIY AFM for their own research.

     The Strømlingo DIY AFM got the grand prize of global "Green Electronics Maker Challenge 2014"(1 over 186 teams world wide), First prize of "Scientific method contest 2014"and Second prize of "Gadget Hacking & Accessories contest 2014" on instructables.

The DIY AFM got Grand Prize of global "Green Electronics Maker Challenge" on Instructables
The DIY AFM got Grand Prize of global "Green Electronics Maker Challenge" on Instructables

    The Strømlingo DIY AFM has received media exposure with articles written and posted on Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and other websites.

Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics
Popular Science (Chinese version)
Popular Science (Chinese version)
Media exposure around the world
Media exposure around the world

    LEGO2NANO project promotes innovative education on Nanotechnology. The LEGO2NANO project tried to build an AFM in 2013:

    Since year 2014, we cooperate with LEGO foundation and LEGO2NANO project. The LEGO2NANO project organizer Prof. Francois Grey says:

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Disruptive Innovation I

    Our DIY-AFM technology is based on a key innovation. We use DVD Optical pick up unit (OPU) instead of traditional AFM optics, with a proven (APL 91, 221908 2007) atomic scale resolution:

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 Disruptive innovation II

      Traditional AFM scanner needs expensive high voltage amplifier and piezoelectric tube transducer. The traditional scanner has distortions due to non-homogeneous piezo powder mixture which causes scanning image distortion. We successfully built a low voltage piezo buzzer scanner which can be directly driven by low voltage source. The piezo buzzer scanner has nearly no distortion when scanning sample. The piezo buzzer scanner is also proven technology (Nanotechnology. 2013 Nov 15) to easily reach atomic resolution.

 Disruptive innovation III

    The Strømlingo DIY AFM doesn't use traditional metal based structures, instead, we use 3D printed circuit boards which can be assembled into 3D structures. 

2D circuit boards, DVD OPU and precision screws of the Strømlingo DIY AFM
2D circuit boards, DVD OPU and precision screws of the Strømlingo DIY AFM
Mechanical structure of traditional AFM is based on metal which costs a lot for machining. The Strømlingo DIY AFM use printed circuit board for whole structure which can still provide enough stability while measuring nano-scale features.
Mechanical structure of traditional AFM is based on metal which costs a lot for machining. The Strømlingo DIY AFM use printed circuit board for whole structure which can still provide enough stability while measuring nano-scale features.

 Disruptive innovation IV

     Typically, for performing high quality nano-scale measurements, we need optical table for isolating vibrations from the ground. Traditional optical table (anti-vibration table) is very bulky and expensive. We developed a simple structure that can isolate the AFM from vibrations from the environment.

The Strømnest Hand held anti-vibration table is light weight, simple, elegant that can replace conventional expensive, heavy and bulky optical table.
The Strømnest Hand held anti-vibration table is light weight, simple, elegant that can replace conventional expensive, heavy and bulky optical table.

     Everyday tables will conduct and transmit vibrations to the DIY AFM, with the vibration signal on the oscilloscope around hundreds of nanometers:

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       The vibration can be effectively isolated by the Strømnest:

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 The Strømnest:

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Our goal is to move the AFM from research labs to classroom and living room!

The Strømlingo DIY AFM is capable of operating in living room.
The Strømlingo DIY AFM is capable of operating in living room.

        For easier operation and higher flexibility, the Strømlingo DIY AFM can be operated just by an iPad! 

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      Nowadays, the AFM is so expensive that only few professors and research groups can own an AFM. Our disruptive innovations and technology will allow even school children to do their own nano-scale research with the Strømlingo DIY AFM! Imagine all the cool projects and things one can "see" at the nanoscale!

     The Strømlingo DIY AFM is just a start. We hope to encourage school children to make their own innovative combinations based on this Strømlingo DIY AFM. Let's start exploring the nanoscale with Strømlingo DIY AFM!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About

    Thank you for sponsoring! We will send you an AFM image measured by school children.

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    Pledge $19 or more About

    Your name on each of the first 100 sets of the DIY AFM.

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    Pledge $39 or more About

    PCB CAD FILE: We will send you the PCB CAD file so you can manufacture for yourself the PCBs for the DIY AFM.

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    Pledge $59 or more About

    Strømnest CAD FILE: We will send you the Strømnest CAD file so you can manufacture for yourself the precision simulated Strømnest hand held anti-vibration table for the DIY AFM.

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    Pledge $199 or more About

    1 Set Strømnest kit with CAD file.

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    Pledge $249 or more About

    1 Set electromechanical structure of Strømlingo DIY AFM with PCB CAD file.

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    Pledge $599 or more About

    1 Set Optics, Mechanical components with all CAD files

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    Optical, Electrical and Mechanical parts with CAD files

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    Pledge $1,999 or more About

    One Strømlingo DIY AFM kit for functional AFM, to be assembled. The AFM kit includes Optical, Electrical, Mechanical parts, basic AFM controller and basic control software.

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    Pledge $3,699 or more About

    You will get one Strømlingo DIY AFM kit to be assembled and a university in a developing country (such as countries in Africa, South America, and India) or a university you request will get one also.

    The AFM kit includes Optical, Electrical, Mechanical parts, basic AFM controller and basic control software.

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    Pledge $3,999 or more About

    You will get one pre-assembled Strømlingo DIY AFM (with system testing report and 1 year warranty) to start exploring the nanoworld right away!

    The pre-assembled Strømlingo AFM includes Optical, Electrical, Mechanical parts, Basic AFM controller and Basic control software. You will also get a testing report of the assembled system.

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    Pledge $9,999 or more About

    You will get one pre-assembled Strømlingo DIY AFM (with system testing report and 1 year warranty) start exploring nanoworld right away!

    The assembled Strømlingo AFM including Optical, Electrical, Mechanical parts, Advanced AFM controller and Advanced control software. You will also get a testing report of the assembled system.

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