Surface Force Measurement Solutions, Training, and Research

Surface Forces Apparatus Users

Our Systems


SFA Systems

Our Surface Forces Apparatus (SFA) systems combined with multiple-beam interferometry can measure forces (static- equilibrium or dynamic- non-equilibrium) between two surfaces in vapors or liquids with a sensitivity of a few nN and a distance resolution of 1Å (0.1 nm).

FAFA Systems

Our Fiber Adhesion and Friction Apparatus (FAFA) can measure the surface forces between two fibers (10s um in diameter) or between a fiber and a surface with a sensitivity of a few uN.

FAFA 2020


The FAFA 2020 system is SurForce’s newest surface forces measurement system. The system is custom designed to rapidly perform fiber adhesion and friction measurements utilizing high-rate imaging techniques. The system includes an optical table, dedicated high-frame rate video acquisition computer hosting a user-friendly MATLAB GUI for data acquisition and reduction and an enclosure outfitted with humidity & temperature sensing.

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The μSFA, or micro-SFA, is a new, compact, microscope-ready SFA for measuring the normal forces between surfaces and other interfacial phenomena. The compact chamber accommodates typical short focal length, large diameter, objectives needed for fluorescence, confocal and other common high magnification microscopy techniques.


The Electrochemcial, or EC-μSFA.  Piezoelectric Top Mount hosts our standard surfaces as well as a large 14MM DIA surface for easier management of the working electrode (WE). The uSFA chamber supports similar three electrode feedthroughs for reference (RE), working (WE) and counter (CE) electrodes as our SFA2000 EC-SFA system.

Bimorph Slider.  The μSFA Bimorph Slider (3-BS) attachment supports lateral force actuation for the lower SFA surface, similar to the same attachment for the SFA2000 systems but scaled for the smaller μSFA chamber.

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Surface Forces Apparatus 2000 SFA2000

SFA 2000

The SFA 2000 is our full-featured configurable SFA offering the imposition and measurement of both normal and shear forces. Friction configurations (FD-SFA) support 1D and 2D friction sensing and load sensing using either metal-film, or high-sensitivity semiconducting, strain gauging.

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What’s New

In this workteams from Tianjin University, University of Montreal and Dalhousie University use a Surface Forces Apparatus (SFA) to demonstrate how the cation-π interaction can be exploited by varying side group composition to finely tune the strength of the cohesive and adhesive energies of short peptides to create novel materials suitable as underwater solvent displacement class adhesives with additional surface specificity and enhanced adhesion through supramolecular structures. Measurements described are possible using either the SurForce SFA 2000 or uSFA systems.

Client’s Testimonials

Tonya Berkley

"The SFA technique is the gold standard for measuring forces between surfaces.”

University of California Davis, Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences
Dr. Matthew Tirrell

"I don't know of another technique that can simultaneously measure surface forces, absolute surface separation and provide direct visualization of the contact area to unequivocally determine the surface energy.”

Dean & Pritzker Director, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago
Dong Woog Lee

"The SurForce team is very helpful in achieving our research needs.  I am looking forward to acquiring the new uSFA to complement our SFA 2000."

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)

"The SFA is critical to our research needs. The SurForce Team provided us with an SFA turn-key system greatly simplifying our procurement and continues to support system customization through insightful and comprehensive engineering design services."

School of Materials Science & Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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