Chemical SPM Probes

SmartTip has recognised the growing demand for chemically activated probes for Chemical Force Microscopy (CFM) and has recently added chemical probes to its probe portfolio.

CFM probes page on the Bruker probes website

CFM probe types

CFM probes are prepared from commercially available AFM probes which are modified with specific functional groups using self-assembled monolayer’s of thiols on gold. Thiol-Au chemistry offers several advantages over alternative modification protocols:

  • Well-defined chemistry
  • Very organized and stable SAMs
  • Highly reproducible functionalization (robust production process)
  • Extremely versatile (many different chemical functionalities)

Custom modifications and/or functionalization of probes provided by clients are often possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us with specific requests and/or questions.


  • Off-the-shelf availability
  • SmartPack ensures high quality chemical probes
  • Variety of different chemical probes available
  • Custom modifications are possible
  • Excellent technical support and high customer service


Most CFM applications can be grouped into two main categories:

  • Surface analysis and characterization
  • Binding – unbinding events

CFM measurement conditions can be tuned in terms of solvent, temperature and pH. Biological samples can be measured under physiological conditions.

Types of applications:

  • Measurement hydrophilic/hydrophobic interactions
  • Intermolecular force measurements
  • Chemical sensing and detection
  • Local mapping of functional group distributions or receptors
  • Local mapping of surface properties (e.g. modulus)

Application examples in different areas:

  • Polymers (determination composites/blends/phase separation/microstructure)
  • Biomaterials (implants, bio-sensors, dental enamel structure)
  • Tribology (friction, wear)
  • Cosmetics (hair, development shampoos/conditioners, skin, contact lenses)
  • Pharmaceutical industry (study of membrane proteins for development of new drugs)


The reliability and reproducibility of a CFM measurement strongly depends on the quality of the chemical probe. With this in mind we developed a special packaging concept for chemical propes: SmartPack.

SmartPack is unique since it is the only adequate packaging solution currently available in the market that allows for safe packaging, storing and shipping of chemical probes.

SmartPack prevents surface contamination, oxidative degradation and/or physical tip damage and ensures the highest quality CFM probes at all times. Additionally, SmartPack also allows for off-the-shelve availability (several months) of your functionalized probes.


The SmartPack consists of a holder submerged in a tube containing a special solution which has been optimized for a variety of different functional groups.