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Vista One

The original PiF microscope for nano‑IR chemical analysis. Vista One makes nanoscale chemical maps and point spectra with more detail than FTIR or nano-FTIR.
AFM topography with PiFM images of polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate)
PiFM images show PS-b-PMMA block co-polymer infiltrated with aluminum oxide. The lamellae show a full pitch of 41 nm where PS is only ~9nm wide.

Characterize at the highest resolution

Sub-10 nm PiF‑IR spectroscopy

  • 1 wavenumber spectral resolution with a widely tunable laser for nano-IR experiments
  • Mono-layer molecular sensitivity

Sub-10 nm PiFM chemical mapping

  • Mono-layer molecular sensitivity
  • Organic and inorganic materials

Proper optics integration

Built to handle any light

A 3D-actuated parabolic mirror focuses excitation light onto the side of the tip no matter what wavelength of light is used.

Fast cantilever alignment

Our cantilever alignment chip ensures that optical alignments are maintained for both the AFM feedback and near-field lasers during cantilever changes.

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The head of Vista One can be taken off to change samples or tips without losing optical alignments.
30 PiF-IR spectra taken across a polymer interface show chemical changes.
PiF-IR spectra spaced 10 nm apart show the material changes across an interface of three polymers (epoxy, pDEGDA, and SDIB).

Complete results immediately

Designed for high throughput measurement

  • Tunable IR lasers can sweep a full PiF‑IR spectrum in as little as 100 ms.
  • Use existing FTIR spectra to identify materials.
  • Fixed-wavelength PiFM images can be acquired in minutes with a range of up to 80 µm in X and Y.
  • Optical alignments are maintained even when changing samples.
  • hyPIR™ imaging and our automated principle component analysis tools provide complete image and spectral data‑sets with minimal effort.

Engineered for precision

Capacitive sensors + optical encoders

Our motorized stage features 6 mm travel and optical encoders for precision control. The capacitive sensors in our AFM scanner ensure linear scans with a ~100 pm RMS precision.

Dual Z

Image samples faster without introducing artifacts. Our dual Z‑piezo scanner system provides accurate scans with a large 12 µm vertical range.

AFM topography image with and without dual-z scanning
Fine topography details are sharper when using our dual-Z piezo system.
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The low profile head is stable and allows a top-objective working distance as small as 13 mm.

Accessible and stable AFM head

Invar construction

Both the head and scanner are made of invar for the best thermal stability possible.

Low profile stability

Our low-profile AFM head allows us to use top objective lenses with high numerical apertures. This provides an excellent optical view of the sample. The head also features the most stable mount configuration for low drift and acoustic stability.

Versatile optical pathways

Bottom optics*

Nano-precision independent scanning allows moving the excitation source focus spot in 3D space.

Many optical views

  • Access the top, bottom, or side of the AFM tip via the top objective, bottom optics, and parabolic mirror.
  • Configure up to 6 lasers for PiFM and PiF-IR.
PiFM diagram with AFM tip, parabolic mirror, and top plus bottom objectives
The AFM tip can be optically excited or viewed from the top, bottom, and side.
Vista One microscope with metal vacuum/environmental cover on top.
Vista One with environmental/vacuum cover over the head.

Customizable environments

Optional environmental cover

Our optional environmental/vacuum cover allows customization of the entire microscope environment. Work under partial pressure with any gas, pump down to vacuum, or control the humidity.

Work in your element

No need to whisper

Install Vista One anywhere you want, and our combination of acoustic enclosure, active isolation table, and external cable frame ensure the AFM tip stays quiet.

Thermal isolation

Our Acoustic Chamber features a temperature control unit to keep the entire system stable within ±0.1 ºC. *

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Vista One IR package shown with environmental cover.
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The Vista One frame can be customized to run nearly any optical AFM experiment including sSNOM, KPFM, or confocal Raman.

Versatile and customizable

Any optical technique

Vista One is our original PiF microscope designed to handle any optical experiment. It also supports sSNOM, confocal Raman, and many custom designed experiments.

Customize any optic

We use standard optical components from ThorLabs and other suppliers. This means that you aren’t tied into a proprietary system and your Vista One will be infinitely configurable by nature.

*These features require optional accessories.

Assuming typical laboratory environments. Performance of any AFM is best in a quiet room on a stable surface, so results will vary for each situation.

Our customer’s perspective

“We were fortunate to acquire one of the first VistaScopes from Molecular Vista. For the past few years, we have used the VistaScope to do photo-induced force microscopy (PiFM) measurements with femtosecond laser pulses. We knew that these experiments were going to be challenging, but they were made so much easier because of the VistaScope. Molecular Vista has done a fantastic job designing the scan head, which allows for coupling light beams in and out of the tip-sample junction with relative ease. The system is stable, easily configurable with additional optics, and is controlled by an intuitive and versatile graphical user interface. We were able to generate interesting PiFM results as soon as the system was installed, and we have been using the system on a daily basis ever since. We can very much recommend the VistaScope to anyone interested in advanced scan probe experiments combined with optical illumination!”

nano-IR,FTIR,nano-FTIR,nano FTIR,nano IR,AFM,vista
Eric Potma, PhD.Associate Professor | Department of Chemistry
School of Physical Sciences | University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697


Vista One IR

Microscope: Vista One frame

Isolation: active vibration isolation table, and acoustic enclosure with temperature control

Laser(s): choice of QCL

  • Protein Range: A laser designed specifically for protein analysis covering 1350-1860 cm−1. Can be upgraded to the full fingerprint range anytime.
  • Oxide Range: A laser designed for analysis on both organics and inorganics covering 760-1350 cm−1. Can be upgraded to the full fingerprint range anytime.
  • Fingerprint Range: A laser which covers the entire IR fingerprint region of 760-1860 cm−1.

Multiplexer: medium size

Inverted Optics: optional

Add-ons (optional): environment/humidity/vacuum control, heated stage, polarization switcher, dry-air filtration, KPFM, cAFM, PFM, force-volume mapping, spectrometer, photon counter (SP-APD), s-SNOM module

Vista One IR +s-SNOM

Everything in Vista One IR


  • Multiplexer: large size
  • Required add-ons: s-SNOM module

Vista One IR +PL/Raman

Everything in Vista One IR


  • Laser(s): choice of QCL, visible diode laser
  • Multiplexer: large size
  • Required add-ons: spectrometer

Vista One DIY

Microscope: Vista One frame

Isolation: active vibration isolation table, and acoustic enclosure with temperature control

Laser(s): bring your own

Multiplexer: optional

Add-ons: optional


Beam Deflection AFM Head (AFM-BD)

Body Material: Invar for excellent thermal stability

Body Profile: 12 mm thick to allow short working distance top objective lens

AC Detector Noise: <50 fm/root Hz above 100 KHz

Detector Bandwidth: 6 MHz

Cantilever Deflection Sensor Laser: 904 nm with finely adjustable beam steering and focus

Manual Translation Stage: 3mm movement in X and Y for coarse tip alignment to focus point of optional bottom objective lens

Fast-Z Module: 1 um z-piezo on cantilever mount serves as the Fast-Z element of high-speed Dual-Z feedback system

Operational Environment: Ambient air, optional open liquid cell, or vacuum/partial pressure with optional environmental chamber cover

Excitation Optics: Broadband (400 nm – 20 um) integrated parabolic mirror with 3D piezo-motor stage for tip-sample illumination for PiFM and reflection-mode s-SNOM

Forward Facing Tuning Fork AFM Head (AFM-FFTF)

Body Material: Invar for excellent thermal stability

TF Operation: Tapping-mode

Manual Translation Stage: 3 mm movement in X and Y for coarse tip alignment to external laser or focus point of bottom objective lens (for tip-enhanced spectroscopy)

Integrated Tip Scanner: X-Y flexure scanner built into head with 12 um x 12 um range for scanning the tuning fork

Fast-Z Module: 1 um z-piezo on cantilever mount serves as the Fast-Z element of high speed Dual-Z feedback system

Main Body Frame

Versatile frame architecture provides for multiple optical pathways to the tip-sample interface.

Inverted Objective Lens (optional): 100X 1.4NA Oil immersion lens or 60X 0.9A conventional lens forms the basis of a custom-designed inverted optical microscope for bottom viewing and illumination of the tip-sample interface. Optional broadband reflective lens available for wideband IR illumination.

Tip Alignment Mechanism: Piezo-driven XYZ stage (12 um for XY and 100 um for Z) for the inverted objective lens for precise alignment of the focus spot onto the tip

Top Objective Lens: 20X, 0.42NA 20 mm working distance standard; shorter working distance (down to 13 mm) also supported for higher NA options

Top Objective Lens Focus: Motorized with stored focus position for fast return after tip or sample change

Illumination: Software controlled LED for top-down bright field illumination; optional dark-field option available

CCD Camera: Concurrent top and inverted views ; digital zoom, pan, and capture

Tip-Sample Approach: Automated engagement

Sample Stage: Motorized precision stage with 6 mm x 6 mm travel range

Maximum Sample Size: 25 mm x 25 mm x 5 mm

System Noise: <90 pm RMS (dependent on environment)

Optical Configuration: Multiple optical pathways to bottom objective and side parabolic mirror provided; pathways are based on industry standard 1” cage system to allow user customization and expansion.

Sample Scanner: XYZ flexure stage scanner with 80 um x 80 um x 15 um scanning range (closed loop); Z sample scanner serves as the slow Z component of high speed Dual-Z feedback system. Built-in capacitive sensors provide closed-loop scanning control for X and Y for superb linearity and accuracy; optional Z capacitive sensor available.

Scanner Material: Invar for excellent thermal stability

Scanner Sensor Noise: 0.15 nm RMS for X and Y with 0.08 nm RMS achievable with software controlled reduced scan range (20 um x 20 um)

High-Speed Electronics

FPGA-based control electronics has a section dedicated for high speed scanning probe microscopy.

Sampling Rate: >500 MHz for channels A & B; Channel A dedicated for photodiode detection for high speed AFM

Lock-in Amplifiers: 4 independent 2-phase lock-in amplifiers

Lock-in Frequency Range: 0-10 MHz

High Speed Sine Wave Generator: Two channels with 160 MHz sampling rates; one reserved for scan generator for high speed AFM

High Speed Feedback Mode: Dual-Z feedback where the sample scanner tracks large amplitude slowly varying topography and the Fast-Z Module in the AFM head rapidly tracks fine topography

Z Feedback Sampling Rate: 1 Mps with Dual-Z feedback

ADCs: 8×24-bit, 156 kHz; 4×24-bit, 156 kHz

DACs: 8×24-bit 156 kHz; 2×24-bit 156 kHz; 1×20-bit, 156 kHz

Stepper Motor Control: 3 channels

DC Motor Control: 3 channels with encoders and Schmitt-Trigger for improved signal quality

HV-Amplifiers: 10 channels

Noise Floor for Scan HV-Amplifiers: 0.5 uV/sqrt(Hz) typical

PiFM & Optics Electronics

Electronics for PiFM includes:

TTL Signal Generator: Two flexible TTL signal generators (with 160 MHz sampling rate) with adjustable duty cycle and DC offset for direct current modulation of laser diodes or for input to Bragg cells

Flexible Lock-in Referencing: Lock-in amplifiers can be phase locked to any other lock-in or at any calculated frequencies from the other lock-ins

Digital Counter Input: Input for avalanche photodiode or photomultiplier for low-light detection


Mounted in a 19″ rack. Minimum configuration includes i7 based Quad Core, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and 2000GB HD combination, 26″ or dual monitor support , 8×USB ports, Windows 10 64bit Professional

VistaScan Image Acquisition Software

Supported modes/features include:

  • Contact and AC AFM
  • STM and PLL feedback (for high Q sensors such as tuning-fork)
  • Ultrafast Dual-Z feedback
  • Q-control
  • Bi-modal force gradient imaging for linear and non-linear PiFM
  • Sideband force gradient imaging (for KPFM via electric force gradient detection)
  • Concurrent acquisition of 26 channels in Dual-Z configuration and 40 channels in Slow-Z configuration
  • Concurrent acquisition of 4 channels for each spectroscopy mode which may include
    • vs gap distance
    • vs bias with and without feedback
    • step response to voltage response with and without feedback

SurfaceWorks Image Analysis Software

Powerful and intuitive software. Features include:

  • Shape and histogram-based masks
  • Functions and analysis (flattening, FFT filtering, line & region analysis, 3D rendering, palettes, etc) applied to an image saved as a file property along with the raw data file
  • Copy/Paste file property to apply same functions and analysis to other image file(s)
  • Preview feature for most functions

Acoustic Enclosure

Optional acoustic enclosure (30W×30D×27H in3). Available with or without temperature control.

Comes with ports for cables and optical access.

Ready to make your lab more capable?

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