Picogram-level mass measurements with millisecond time resolution

All over natural sciences and engineering mass is being measured to characterize and design a large variety of high-performance systems. Yet there existed an instrumentational void for weighing microscopically sized systems such as single cells or colloidal microparticles.

With the recent introduction of the PicoBalance option for the DriveAFM, Nanosurf now offers a unique solution that allows nanotechnological measurements of a new dimension to fill this gap - while providing the full functionality of a high-end AFM. Whether as a stand-alone instrument or as an add-on to the DriveAFM, the PicoBalance enables users to noninvasively measure microscopic biological or material science systems reaching sub-picogram and millisecond resolution.

In brief: a microscopic particle, like a cell, is attached to the PicoBalance's cantilever, which in turn is oscillated with very low amplitudes via photothermal-excitation. The mass of the attachment can be derived with high accuracy, and can be monitored over long periods of time, for biological samples even under physiological conditions. In this way the PicoBalance can measure the mass of even single adherent cells with 0.1% mass and millisecond temporal resolution.

Since its introduction several users are already exploring the capabilities of the PicoBalance to non-invasively measure microscopic biological or material science systems at picogram and millisecond resolution.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Direct measurement of the total mass in liquids
  • Mass resolution: 5 pg*; range: tens of pg to tens of ng
  • Time resolution: 100 ms*; range: from seconds to days
  • Long-term stability enabling day-long experiments
  • Compatible with LiveCell chamber, inverted light microscopy, FluidFM and DriveAFM

*As measured with an NSC35 probe

Discover our AFM range here >>

Dr. Stefano Pergolini
Dr. Stefano Pergolini


Quantum Design s.r.l.

Via Francesco Sapori, 27
00143 Roma

Phone:+39 06 5004204
Fax:+39 06 5010389