Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM)

This new AFM mode, developed by PrimeNano, measures the electrical properties of materials at length scales from 10’s of nanometers to microns. sMIM modules produce high qualityimages of local electrical properties with better than 50 nm resolution.The core of our technical approach is to utilize microwave reflections from a nm scaleregion of the sample directly under the sMIM probe.



CSInstruments is a French scientific equipment manufacturer specialised in the conception of Atomic Force Microscope and options designed for existing AFM (Nano-Observer AFM, Resiscope™, High Voltage Amplifier, Magnetic modules). The product range proposed by CSInstruments is designed and manufactured to help the scientific community to achieve nanometer performances that meet the research needs and requirements for actual and future nanoscience applications.

CSInstruments was founded by a team of experts working in AFM field for more than 20 years, starting as pioneer with some historical manufacturers. CSInstruments activity is also based on a qualified and dynamic team, experienced in the fields of mechanics, electronics and data processing. This expertise ensures innovation and performance in the production of AFM and achieves an excellent price/performance ratio!

Key Features

  • Sensitivity to metals, semi-conductors and insulators including dielectrics
  • Direct measure conductivity σ & ε permittivity at the Nano-Scale
  • Linear relationship to electrical properties
  • Quantitative doping concentration mapping
  • Nano-Scale C-V spectra
  • Sub-surface sensing capability


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.

sMIM probes

The sMIM probes are batch fabricated MEMS devices (micro electrical mechanical systems) with a shielded front and backside and center transmission line.The probe shielding reduces stray coupling from the environment and  the cantilever. The probe radius is nominally 50nm to optimize signal strength and lateral resolution.The probe sample interface use a resistor and capacitor in parallel. This “leaky capacitor” presents an impedance mismatch to the 50 ohm system electronics, creating a reflection.

As the sMIM probe is moved across the sample surface there is a change in the impedance of this leaky capacitor and the resulting change in the real and imaginary parts of the reflected wave are output as two signal from the ScanWave electronics. These signals are digitized by the AFM to produce the sMIM-C and sMIM-R images synchronized with  the topography images.

ScanWave Advantages

“Affordable solution for Nanoscale Mapping of electrical measurements”

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

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

No Conductive Path Needed
No ground or conductive path needed to get your electrical characterisation.

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 +/-

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.

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.

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

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.

Easy to Use Software
Scan management and configuration is a bliss.

Product range

Soft ResiScope Mode


  • Micro-electronics
  • Nano-materials
  • Doping profiles
  • Biomedical
  • Green Energy
  • Photonic materials and devices


  • Materials Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Semiconductors and Electronics
  • Academics
  • Others (includes solar cells, geoscience, forensic science, and food technology)


If you would like to learn more about Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM), contact our experienced technical team today. We would be happy to help you find the right profilometry solution for your needs. Contact us today!