Since our launch in August of 2021, this is what we have been asked about most.
The short answer is Colorado, USA. The pandemic has forced us to be in separate locations during the last two years when we were in heavy R&D, and so we were subdivided between Boulder and Fort Collins. Recently, we moved production of our machined parts to Four Nine Design in BIllings, MT. We are opening an office in Longmont, CO in a few months. This will serve as our headquarters. All assembly, testing, and shipping will be from the new office.
It depends on the item. The chip shortage has affected the closed-loop controller for our encoded stages. Open-loop stages are currently shipping with 16 week lead times. Scanners are on 8-10 week lead times. AFMs are unaffected because we use the RHK electronics for those, and they have not reported any delays to us.
We have qualified the Quantum Design OptiCool for SPM and the Four Nine Design IsoDry. For now, these are the only cryostats where we will guarantee performance of our AFMs. Most liquid helium cryostats are also fine, though check with us to make sure.
We will be, yes. In about 6 months we're going to be looking for engineering help, adding both mechanical and electrical, as well as finance and HR.
We are in the process of executing contracts for most worldwide territories. We will release this list as soon as the ink is dry. But our products will be available in nearly all major worldwide territories. Currently we will have covered: EU, China, Japan, Singapore, India, South America, South Korea, and Australia. We sell direct in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
We are fascinated and highly engaged with the technology of our customers! But it tends to make more sense for us to support you in more of a background/passive way. In most cases, we're glad to provide letters of support; we're always glad to provide budgetary quotes. But we generally limit our involvement to that level. We are a retail and OEM seller of scientific equipment with no intention of becoming an SBIR mill.
We do not, sorry.
We realize that there are proposals that do not allow for the purchase of capital equipment, but we do not wish to get involved in work-arounds where we pretend that you helped us develop something for the purposes of cloaking your capital equipment purchase. We encourage you to seek other vendors for this.
Not at this time.
Certainly they work, but our recommendation is no. Our stages are made with extreme rigor and attention to detail on CTE, heat dissipation, low outgassing materials, and low magnetism. There is a good chance that your application does not require this and the room temperature stage providers can build their stages without all these stringent requirements. As such, they cost less and will give you the performance you require. So, we generally recommend you go with one of them for ambient motion solutions.
Usually, though it depends on the territory and the product. For nanopositioning stages (not scanners) we tend to be less costly in the US. However, our monolithic XY scanners and dual Z scanners are more costly than the leading manufacturer, but it is because these are extremely high performing scanners. The XY scanner is a motion amplified flexure scanner with a resonance above 2 kHz (loaded). Our dual Z scanner is actually two scanners, a long range slow scanner beneath a variable temperature stage with a fast, short-range scanner on top. It allows us to scan the weight of the temperature stage but still have a fast response for AFM stability and small feature topography. RHK has implemented a dual Z feedback loop in their electronics for this scanner. The sample holder on the dual Z can vary temperature from 4K to 350K while the rest of the scan head is 4K. So our scanners are more than just scanners. They cost a lot more to build because they are substantially higher performance than anything else.
For nanopositioning stages our backlog is too high. Every one that comes out of production is spoken for, so no. For AFMs, no. For scanners, maybe. The demand on those is lower and we make them in batches of 5, so it's not unusual to have 1 or 2 extra in house.
They are a close partner. We get this one a lot because we frequently take customer calls together with Four Nine. All of our thermal links are sourced from them and we are partnering with them on 2 diamond NV center AFMs. They are also our production center for most machined parts. However, we also partner with Quantum Design; the first IR-AFM-4K is for an OptiCool, and have a close working relationship with High Precision Devices (Form Factor - Boulder). In principle, we consider most cryostat vendors as potential partners.
For all AFMs we default to RHK electronics in the form of the R9, R9 Plus, or R10 controller, and PMC100 for slip-stick drive. RHK has been an extremely supportive partner to us and we are pleased with their performance.
No. While we appreciate the offer, we do not wish to go down this road. We respect our competitors.
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