MicroBAM (Brewster Angle Microscopes) enable visualization of monolayers, typically at the air-water interface in a Langmuir Trough.

By detecting changes in the refractive index of the water surface in the presence of surfactant molecules, BAMs provide information on homogeneity, phase behavior and film morphology without the need for any external agents such as fluorescent dyes which could interfere with the Langmuir layer.

Application overview

Micro BAMs enable the visualization of Langmuir monolayers or adsorbate films at the air-water interface for example as a function of packing density.

Pre-deposition Langmuir-Blodgett layer quality check

  • Monolayer/film homogeneity. When combined with a KSV NIMA L & LB Trough, observation can be performed during compression/expansion at known surface pressures. Verifying the homogeneity of the monolayer already prior to deposition will speed up the research considerably.
  • Optimizing the deposition parameters. For a high quality LB coating, the measurement parameters such as compression speed, waiting times, temperature and subphase content need to be optimized. With BAM it is easy to study the effects of these parameters and choose the optimal conditions.

Langmuir layer structure and behavior studies

  • Monolayer/film behavior. It is possible to observe phase changes, phase separation, domain size, shape and packing.
  • Monitoring of surface reactions. For example, photochemical reactions, polymerization reactions as well as enzyme kinetics can be followed in real-time.
  • Monitoring and detection of surface active materials. For example protein adsorption and nanoparticle flotation.

Features & Benefits

  • Good resolution (12 µm) and large field of view for film homogeneity and domain size studies.
  • Capture and save still images of monolayers.
  • Can be set to take pictures automatically as a function of time or surface pressure.
  • Compact design, small footprint.
  • Simple, intuitive operation.
  • Compatible with most Langmuir troughs and Langmuir-Blodgett troughs.
  • Optimal for routine LB film homogeneity check prior to deposition.

Product details

The KSV NIMA MicroBAM is an easy-to-use instrument for non-invasive imaging of mono-molecular layers at the air-water interface. The good image quality and lateral resolution make it an ideal instrument for the visualization of morphological film parameters (e.g. compressed film homogeneity, domain size, shape and packing). Real-time observation and recording of film structure enables dynamic activity to be captured.

The KSV NIMA MicroBAM can be used with most KSV NIMA Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Troughs, to provide real-time image measurements as a function of time or surface pressure. The KSV NIMA MicroBAM connects directly to the computer via USB making it remarkably easy to setup and use.

Technical Specifications




Angle-of-incidence range (°)

53, fixed

Angle-of-incidence resolution (°)


Light source power (mW)


Light source wavelength (nm)


Image resolution (µm)

12 (horizontal image direction, center)1

Field of view (µm)




Polarizing resolution (°)




Analyzing resolution (°)





Resolution (px)


Framerate (fps)


Adjustable exposure time and gain

AVI video recorder


Image processing 

Background compensation


Geometric image deformation for unskewed images


Image resizing

Scale bar overlay


Contrast enhancement


Image filtering

Various image formats


Particle size determination


Instrument dimensions (L×W×H, cm)


Measuring head dimensions (L×W×H, cm)


Power supply (V, Hz)

100-240, 50/60

Weight (kg)


Compatibility with L & LB Troughs 



High Compression


1According to Rayleigh’s criterion
2P-polarization of the incident beam

Application examples

Deposition parameter optimization for graphene oxide

Chemical exfoliation of graphite is recognized as one of the most potential methods for producing graphene in industrial scale. The result of the exfoliation process is graphene oxide, which is known to disperse well in water due to its ionizable –COOH groups. In a study by Kim and coworkers (Kim et al., ‘J of American Chemical Society’ (2010), 132, pp. 8180-8186), the properties of graphene oxide were investigated by examining the amphiphilic nature of the molecule in a Langmuir trough.

Langmuir isotherms and Brewster angle microscopy were used to examine the properties and observe the formation of graphene oxide sheets at air-water interfaces. The study showed how monolayer imaging can improve solution processing and to help finding the optimal deposition parameters for graphene oxide materials.

Application Note 9 — Imaging the Structure of Thin Films: Brewster Angle Microscopy