Minus K Technology

Tables, Platforms, Benchtops & Custom Systems for *SEM, AFM, TEM, SPM, STM, STEM, NSOM-SNOM

Many of our clients' microscopes have nano and micro vibration isolation requirements that are unparalleled in the metrology world (for brain research and at NASA as examples). Minus K's negative stiffness and "passive" verses "active" technology, enables microscopes to achieve their highest level of performance. Our isolators and custom systems provide the performance of an ideal bungee system and the convenience of a bench top system without any of the problems associated with many of them, including air tables.

From the ubiquitous bungee suspension systems, to large beds of sand on inner tubes, there have been many attempts at achieving the ultimate isolation. Air tables have been used with some success. However, our negative-stiffness isolators provide superior isolation control and performance while offering better ease of use and no facility requirements. We even have the flexibility of custom tailoring resonant frequencies vertically, horizontally and in tilt to your liking.

The vertical axis can be the most sensitive factor, with sensitivity to vibrations in the horizontal axes as well. In order to achieve the lowest possible noise floor (on the order of an angstrom), isolation is always used. Large air tables provide decent isolation vertically but are limited horizontally. Bench top air systems provide limited isolation vertically and very little isolation horizontally. Bungee systems are very good isolators but are extremely cumbersome and somewhat risky to use.

Read the Microscopy Testimonials

Small "active" systems (as opposed to our "passive" systems) are sometimes used. However, those have several drawbacks:

  • They are expensive and fragile.
  • They are subject to the noise floor of every component in the entire feedback loop plus AC line noise.
  • They have a limited dynamic range, typically only a few thousandths of an inch. If this is exceeded (very easy to do) the isolator goes into positive feedback and you have a very expensive noise generator underneath your SPM.
  • They have to be sitting on an infinitely rigid structure to work at their theoretical best. Obviously, infinitely rigid structures are not easy to find in most labs. The result is that the isolator is not always doing what you think it's doing.

Our isolators give you the best possible performance in all axes, from high to low frequency isolation. They provide the performance of an ideal bungee system and the convenience of a bench top system without any of the problems associated with any of them, including air tables. We enable our users to achieve the highest level of noise performance possible.

*Acronyms for Microscopes & Microscopy:
  • SEM: Scanning Electron Microscope
  • AFM: Atomic Force Microscope
  • SPM: Scanning Probe Microscope
  • STM: Scanning Tunneling Microscope
  • TEM: Transmission Electron Microscope
  • STEM: Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope
  • TIRFM: Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscope
  • NSOM-SNOM: Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy
Nano Magnetics Easy AFM on Minus K LC-4
Asylum Research MFP-3D AFM on Minus K BM-4
Park Systems XE-70 AFM on Minus K BM-10
Olympus IX71 AFM Certus Optic I with inverted optical microscope on Minus K BM-8
Nanosurf Easyscan2 AFM on Minus K BM-10
Univ. of California Santa Barbara Custom AFM on Minus K BM-1
Nanonics Imaging MV4000 Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy on Minus K BM-1
Zeiss Axio Obersver Z1 AFM on Minus K BM-8
Bruker Multimode with OMV on Minus K BM-4
Delong LVEM5 Desktop SEM on Minus K BM-8
Nion STEM on a four-isolator Minus K FP-1
Hitachi S-4800 SEM on a three-isolator Minus K FP-1
JEOL JEM 1400 TEM on a three-isolator horizontal only Minus K FP-1
e-Line SEM on a two-isolator Minus K FP-1


From Minus K: Microscope vibration isolation table, platform and bench top products, plus custom systems for anti-vibration and vibration free microscopy.

Those looking for partial solutions such as from materials or parts involving pads, mounts, mats, rubber feet, etc., might look further into our products for a more thorough solution.