Easy-to-learn all-in-one device, ideal for teaching and university research
  • SURFE²R N1

    Finally label-free functional assays for transporters available
  • SURFE²R N1

    High signal amplification compared to patch-clamp: transport & binding assays
  • SURFE²R N1

    The only instrument on the market for SSM-based electrophysiology
  • SURFE²R N1

    Turn-key system for efficient transporter protein analysis

SURFE²R N1 - In-depth Transporter Research

In contrast to conventional patch-clamp electrophysiology, the SURFE²R (surface electrogenic event reader) technology is designed for the measurements of electrogenic transporters (symporters, exchangers and uniporters) and pumps. Usually these proteins have low turnover rates compared to ion channels. SURFE²R technology compensates for that with a large sensor size which allows for the measurement of up to 109 transporters at the same time to yield the best signal to noise ratio. The SURFE²R N1 was designed for basic research and universities. When higher throughput is required, the SURFE²R 96SE is able to measure 96 sensors in a fully parallel mode.

Features of the SURFE²R N1

• Automated recordings with up to 52 different solutions
• 150 data points per day
• All-in-one device, including liquid handling, electrophysiology hardware and computer
• Easy-to-learn, ideal for teaching

Features of SSM-based electrophysiology

• > 100 targets validated, 100 peer reviewed papers using SSM-based electrophysiology
• Transporters, pumps and ligand gated channels
• Measure even electroneutral exchangers and sugar binding
• Use purified membranes and vesicles from cells or proteoliposomes
• Label-free electrical measurements
• Requires only 0.1 – 1 µg protein per sensor. This is sufficient for up to 100 experiments.
• Real-time data with high time resolution, not single point read-out
• High signal amplification compared to patch-clamp
• Fast binding kinetics can be resolved
• EC50, IC50, rate constants, comparison of transporter variants,...

The technology employs solid-supported membrane- (SSM-) based electrophysiology which was established in the late 1990s. Details about SSM-based electrophysiology are presented in the Technology section. The reusable sensors contain a gold-coating on which the SSM is formed in a quick pipetting process. Then the sample containing your transporter of interest is added on top to physically adsorb to the SSM. Any kind of membrane preparation containing the protein of interest can be used for measurements, e.g. membrane vesicles after cell disruption or proteoliposomes after reconstitution of purified proteins. These samples can be stored frozen for months and years. Therefore no running cell culture lab is required.
The key to SSM-based electrophysiology is the exchange of solutions to provide the substrate or ligand and activate the transporter. The following charge translocation is detected and can be analyzed. Due to the high stability of the SSM up to one hundred sequential measurements can be performed on the same sample. This allows for determination of parameters such as EC50 or IC50. Since the time resolution of solution exchange is state-of-the-art, not only slow transport can be measured, but also fast binding reactions can be assayed and rate constants can be determined.

The device is easy-to-use and can be learned and mastered in only one day. It allows for automatic robotic measurements which reduces the involvement of the researcher tremendously. And it contains all equipment required for experiments in only one box, among this the liquid handling components, the electrophysiological hardware and even the computer.


For detailed information:

SURFE²R N1 Device and Software

The SURFE2R N1 device

N1 slide 1

The SURFE2R (surface electrogenic event reader) technology is the only available commercial solution for SSM-based electrophysiology on the market. Nanion Technologies developed the SURFE2R 96SE, a high-throughput system mainly used in pharmaceutical industry for drug screening purposes and the SURFE2R N1 designed for basic research.

The SURFE2R N1 device contains electrophysiological hardware, liquid handling components and the computer running Windows, plus the data recording and analysis software SurfControl. It’s an easy-to-learn, all-in-one robotic workstation which can measure 150 data points a day in a fully automated manner.

The SURFE2R N1 works with reusable sensor chips on which the membranes containing the protein of interest are adsorbed. The measurement is initiated by a substrate concentration jump. The solution exchange is controlled by the Ionjet, a robot-controlled pipette which loads solution from storage containers and injects them to the sensor enclosed by a Faraday cage. The Ionjet allows the measurement of fast kinetics with low solution consumption. An autosampler on top of the device allows placing up to 53 solutions for automated sequential measurements. During the measurement, the transport current can be viewed, compared and analyzed within the SurfControl software. The main characteristics of the device include a low-noise amplifier and a large sensor surface which both ensure a superior signal to noise ratio.

SURFE2R N1 Control Software and Automatization

The device comes with the SURFE2R N1 Control software pre-installed on the internal computer. This forms both the recording and analysis software. The functions of SurfControl include the managing and coding of workflows which represent protocols for SURFE2R assays. Workflows can contain multiple measurements, e.g. using different substrate concentrations or the comparison of transport before and after inhibition. The workflow includes parameters like duration, speed and volume of solution flow during the experiment, the number and sequence of different buffers, the number of repetitions per measurement, the incubation times between experiments and the volume used for rinsing the sensor after an experiment. During the run of one workflow no interference by the researcher is required.

Beside the design of the experiment itself, SurfControl enables the researcher to view and compare recorded traces. The graphical window allows peak detection and the calculation of the peak integrals including baseline subtraction. An additional results window is used for automated documentation of the traces including file name, values for peaks and integrals and the time of measurement. For further analysis, e.g. the fitting of kinetic parameters or the subtraction of negative control currents, the software is capable of exporting the data to the standard file format ASCII.


SURFE²R N1 Single Sensor Chips

N1 Round V2 400x237

The SURFE²R N1 sensor chip is a proprietary innovative product by Nanion Technologies, developed for the SURFE²R N1. It is produced by an external partner, quality-assured in-house at Nanion headquarters and shipped from Munich to our international customers.

The core structure of SURFE²R N1 sensor chip is a gold-coated sensor with 3 mm diameter. This structure is incorporated into a screw cap for easy handling. The SURFE²R N1 single sensor chips can be reused after an appropriate cleaning protocol.
Available chip type
  • "SURFE²R N1 Single Sensor Chip" (Order # 161001)

Validated Targets: SSM-based Electrophysiology

Testimonials & Case Studies

5th Year PhD student, Nathan Thomas- Statement about the SURFE²R N1 Device

Icon N1  “We started collaborating with Nanion after receiving the Nanion´s SURFE²R N1 grant in 2018. The SURFE²R N1 has generated terrific functional data from the very first day it was installed in our lab. In general, it's very reliable and easy to use. Also, whenever we have run into issues or had questions about results, Nanion has provided prompt and helpful support”

Nathan Thomas
5th Year PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA (Dr. Henzler-Wildman's lab)

Dr. Arnaud Javelle - Statement about the SURFE²R N1 Device

Icon N1  “Using the SURFE2R N1 we have recently obtained high quality data in a very short period of time. We have developed an assay to measure the activity of ammonium transporters from the Amt protein family. There has been considerable controversy over the mechanism of ammonium transport by Amt proteins and the controversy was due to the lack of quantitative kinetic data characterizing the activity of the proteins at the single channel level. The SSM technologies allows to overcome this hurdle and we are now capable of answering very challenging functional questions concerning the mechanisms and the energetics of these transporters."

Dr. Arnaud Javelle, Chancellor's fellow, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Thomas Seeger & Karin V. Niessen - Statement about the SURFE²R Technology

Icon N1   “The SURFE²R makes extremely challenging electrophysiological targets accessible to robust routine analyses. For example, we have developed an assay for investigating nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ion channels, using membranes from the Pacific electric ray, Torpedo California. In this way, we overcome many of the well-known difficulties associated with this ion channel, which allows us to efficiently obtain information regarding compound pharmacology. Obtained pharmacology values match those of patch clamp recordings exceptionally well. We find that the SURFE²R is an excellent platform for characterization of electrogenic processes in isolated membranes.”

Karin V. Niessen, Dr. Thomas Seeger
Bundeswehr Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Munich, Germany

Prof. Dr. Klaus Fendler - Statement about the SURFE²R N1 Device

Icon N1   “SSM-based electrophysiology is a well-established technique developed in our lab in the early 1990s for the investigation of electrogenic membrane transporters. It works with a wide range of samples from mammalian cell membranes over microbial membrane vesicles to proteoliposomes. SSM-based electrophysiology is especially useful in cases where conventional electrophysiology cannot be applied, e.g. for transporters residing in intracellular membranes or plasma membranes of small microbial cells. The SURFE2R N1 is a commercial instrument for SSM based electrophysiology which facilitates basic research in the field of membrane transport.“

Prof. Dr. Klaus Fendler
Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt, Germany

Prof. Dr. Klaus Fendler and Co-Authors - Interview about the SURFE²R Technology

Icon N1   ““SSM-based electrophysiology is a suitable technique to study bacterial ion-translocating membrane- systems which are otherwise difficult to approach using conventional electrophysiological techniques, like patch clamp.
Additionally, the mechanical stability of SSMs facilitates the transport activation through fast solution exchange, a condition that is technically challenging in a setup of a bilayer separating two solution-containing compartments.“

Dr. Miyer Fabián Patiño-Ruiz,
Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Dr. Andre Bazzone, Application Scientist for the SURFE²R product family interviewed the authors of the publication:
"Mutation of two key aspartate residues alters stoichiometry of the NhaB Na+/H+ exchanger from Klebsiella pneumoniae"
Published 2019 in Nature Scientific Reports.

Read the publication here and download the full case study here:

Icon N1   SURFE²R Technology Customer Case Study (2020)   logo pdf   (1.3 MB)
Nature Scientific Reports: Characterization of the Na+/H+ exchanger NhaB on the SURFE²R N1

Back to Overview

Prof. Dr. Randy Stockbridge - Interview about the SURFE²R Technology

Icon N1   “We wanted to characterize the electrophysiological characteristics of our new family of transporters to find out properties such as Km and Vmax of the substrate, and ideally to screen a set of substrates for transporter activity. However, given our difficulties in developing a transport assay, I was pessimistic that we were going to be able to move beyond radiolabeled substrates.
Contrary to my expectations, electrophysiology with the SURFE²R N1 platform worked right away. We saw very robust currents in our pilot experiments during the initial training session on the instrument.“

Prof. Dr. Randy Stockbridge, Assistant Professor
University of Michigan, USA

Download the full case study here:

Icon N1   SURFE²R Technology Customer Case Study (2019)   logo pdf   (1.8 MB)
Replacing Radiolabeling Techniques with the SURFE²R N1

Back to Overview

Data and Applications

NCX1 - Block by KB-R7943

NCX1 KBR7943 iCell Cor4U HEK

Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Cardiac NCX1 expressed in iCell® Cardiomyocytes2, Cor.4U® Cardiomyocytes or HEK cells was blocked by increasing concentrations of KB-R7943.  


NCX1 - Block by SEA0400

NCX1 iCell HEK SEA0400

Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Cardiac NCX1 expressed in iCell® Cardiomyocytesor HEK cells was blocked by increasing concentrations of SEA0400, a specific blocker of NCX.  


NCX1 - Current traces recorded from Cor.4U Cardiomyocytes, iCell Cardiomyocytes and HEK cells

NCX1 Cor4U icell HEK

Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Cardiac NCX1 was activated using 30 μM Ca2+ on the SURFE2R N1. NCX1 was recorded from Cor.4U® Cardiomyocytes, iCell® Cardiomyocytes2 or overexpressed in HEK cells. The calcium affinity was determined for NCX1 recorded from iCell® Cardiomyocytes2 and HEK cells, shown on the right.  


AmtB - Activation by ammonium

AmtB activation by ammonium

Icon N1 SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Purified AmtB from E.Coli was incorporated into liposomes and used on the SURFE2R N1. Shown are transient currents measured after a 100 mM ammonium jump in empty liposomes (green) or proteoliposomes containing AmtB at a lipid protein ratio (LPR) of 50 (black), 10 (red) or 5 (blue). Insert: Normalized current measured in proteoliposomes containing AmtB at an LPR of 50 (black), 10 (red) or 5 (blue).

Data from Mirandela et al, 2018

AmtB - Substrate specificity

AmtB specificity for ammonium

Icon N1 SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Purified AmtB from E.Coli was incorporated into liposomes and used on the SURFE2R N1. AmtB substrate specificity. (A) Transient current measured after a 100 mM substrate jump. Ammonium (red), methylammonium (black), potassium (green) or sodium (purple). Potassium and sodium do not act as substrates for AmtB and methylammonium translocates but at a much reduced rate compared with ammonium. Insert: Normalised current after a 100 mM substrate jump. Ammonium (red), methylammonium (black).

Data from Mirandela et al, 2018

EAAT3 - Current Traces at different Sodium Chloride Concentrations

EAAC1 SURFE2R N1 Website

Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

EAAT3 current traces were recorded after application of different Sodium Chloride concentrations. The EC50 of the peak current was determined as 42.2 mM. 


Organic Cation Transporter 2 (OCT2) - Pharmacology


Icon N1 SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

EC50 values and relative Vmax for three different substrates are shown.

The IC50 value for Choline was determined as 4.6 mM, for TEA as 0.33 mM and for Metformin as 8.6 mM.

Sodium-Potassium ATPase - Analysis

Surfer NaK ATPaseIcon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

The Sodium-Potassium ATPase, also known as Na+/K+ pump is responsible for the active transport of Na+ and K+ in the cells containing relatively high concentrations of K+ ions but low concentrations of Na+ ions. The Na+/K+-ATPase helps maintain resting potential, avail transport, and regulate cellular volume. Here, we demonstrate the conductance of the pump, in the presence of ATP, Na+ and K+, or in the presence of ATP and Na+.

Respiratory Chain Complex V - Action of the ATP Synthase after Application of ATP

Surfer RC VIcon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

The Respiratory Chain Complex V uses the transmembrane proton gradient (produced by Complex I, III and IV) to generates ATP from ADP plus phosphate. One component of ATP synthase acts as an ion channel that provides for a proton flux back into the mitochondrial matrix. This reflux releases free energy, which is used to drive ATP synthesis, catalyzed by the other component of the complex. Experiments on the SURFE2R N1 show the action of the ATPase after application of ATP.

Respiratory Chain Complex IV - Current Traces

Surfer RC IVIcon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

The Respiratory Chain Complex IV, known as Cytochrom c oxidase, reduces oxygen by cunsumption of electrons from cytocrome c and transport of two protons to the intermembrans space. Here the reaction runs backwards.



Respiratory Chain Complex II and III - Current Traces

Surfer RC II IIIIcon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Respiratory Chain Complex II is a succinate dehydrogenase. In this complex, succinate is oxidated to fumarate. The electrons are transfered to the quinone pool, the Complex III (cytochrome bc1 complex) and cytochrome c, while four protons are transported to the intermembrane space.

Respiratory Chain Complex I and III - Current Over Mitochondrial Membrane

Surfer RC complexI III traceIcon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

In the respiratory chain Complex I and III, oxidation of NADH leads to transport of 4 protons across the membrane. The electrons are transferred to cytochrome c. Because of the electron leakage to oxygen, both complex are the main sites of production of harmful superoxide. In these experiments using the SURFE2R N1, application of 100µM NADH results in a current over the mitochondrial membrane, where Complex I and III are expressed.

Adenine Nucleotide Translocator (ANT) - Recorded on the Surfer

Icon N1   Surfer ANT traceSURFE2R N1 data and applications:

The Adenine Nucleotide Translocator (ANT) is located in the inner membrane of mitochondria and transports, as the name suggests, either ADP or ATP alone or against each other.  Recordings were done on mitochondria inner membrane preparations from pigs heart.  Example traces display the action of ANT either in the presence of ATP, in an other experiment in the presence of ADP.

PepT1 - Pharmacology of Lys[Z(NO2)]-Val

Surfer PepT1 traces IC50Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 data and applications:

Representive traces of PepT1 overexpressed in CHO cells. PepT1 (SLC15A1) is expressed mainly in intestine and kidney, it enables uptake of oligopeptides. The PepT1 signal is evoked by glycylglycin. The transport of oligopeptides can be inhibited by addition of Lys[Z(NO2)]-Val. The IC50 of Lys[Z(NO2)]-Val was 380µM.

Webinars and Movies

2018 - Electrophysiological Characterization of Sugar Transporters using SSM-based Electrophysiology

Icon 96SE   SURFE²R 96SE and   Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 Oral Presentation

Dr. Andre Bazzone, Application Scientist, Nanion Technologies GmbH, Germany
Andre is an expert in the field of SSM-based electrophysiology: He made his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany on the electrophysiological characterization of sugar transporters using the SSM-based electrophysiology in 2016. Right afterwards, he started as Application Scientist at Nanion Technologies and today he is an important member of the Nanion SURFE²R team.

2018 - Transporters Investigated Using the SURFE²R Instruments

Icon 96SE   SURFE²R 96SE and   Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 Oral Presentation

Dr. Maria Barthmes, Product Manager SURFE²R product family, Nanion Technologies GmbH, Germany

2017 - Variations on the Coupling Theme in Secondary Active Transport

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 Oral Presentation

Gregor Madej, University of Regensburg, Germany


Application Notes

Product Sheets

SURFE2R N1 - Product Sheet

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 product sheet   logo pdf   (1.0 MB)

Quickstart Guides


2020 - Energy Coupling in Cation-Pumping Pyrophosphatase - Back to Mitchell

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 publication in Frontiers in Plant Science (2020)

Baykov A.A.

2019 - Phosphatidylserine flipping by the P4-ATPase ATP8A2 is electrogenic

Icon N1   SURFE²R ONE (a predecessor model of SURFE²R N1) publication in PNAS (2019)

Tadini-Buoninsegni F., Mikkelsen S.A., Mogensen L.S., Molday R.S., and Andersen J.P.

2019 - Mutation of two key aspartate residues alters stoichiometry of the NhaB Na+/H+ exchanger from Klebsiella pneumoniae

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 publication in Nature Scientific Reports (2019)

Patiño-Ruiz M., Fendler K., & Călinescu O.

2019 - Functional Reconstitution of Membrane Proteins Derived From Eukaryotic Cell-Free Systems

Icon N1   SURFE2R N1 and   Icon Orbit   Orbit 16 publication in Frontiers in Pharmacology (2019)

Dondapati S.K., Lübberding H., Zemella A., Thoring L., Wüstenhagen D.A., Kubick S.

2019 - A two-lane mechanism for selective biological ammonium transport

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 pre-publication in bioRxiv (2019)

Williamson G., Tamburrino G., Mirandela G.D., Boeckstaens M., Bage M., Pisliakov A., Ives C.M., Terras E.T., Bizior A., Hoskisson P.A., Marini A.M., Zachariae U., Javelle A.

2018 - The lipid environment determines the activity of the E. coli ammonium transporter, AmtB

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 publication in Faseb J (2018)

Mirandela G.D., Tamburrino G., Hoskisson P.A., Zachariae U., Javelle A.

2017 - SSM-Based Electrophysiology for Transporter Research

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 and   Icon 96SE   SURFE²R 96SE book chapter in Methody in Enzymology

Bazzone A., Barthmes M., Fendler K.

2017 - Insights into the mechanism of membrane pyrophosphatases by combining experiment and computer simulation

Icon N1  SURFE²R N1 publication in Structural Dynamics (2017)

Shah N.R., Wilkinson C., Harborne S.P.D., Turku A., Li K.-M., Sun Y.-J., Harris S., Goldman A.

2017 - Discovery of Compounds that Positively Modulate the High Affinity Choline Transporter

Icon N1  SURFE²R N1 publication in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience (2017)

Choudhary P., Armstrong E.J., Jorgensen C.C., Piotrowski M., Barthmes M., Torella R., Johnston S.E., Maruyama Y., Janiszewski J.S., Storer R.I., Skerratt S.E., Benn C.L.

2016 - Membrane pyrophosphatases from Thermotoga maritima and Vigna radiata suggest a conserved coupling mechanism

Icon N1  SURFE²R N1 publication in Nature Communications (2016)

Li K., Wilkinson C., Kellosalo J., Tsai J., Kajander T, Jeuken L.J.C., Sun Y., Goldman A.

2016 - Electrophysiological characterization of the archaeal transporter NCX_Mj using solid supported membrane technology

Icon N1  SURFE²R N1 and   icon vpp   Vesicle Prep Pro publication in Journal of General Physiology (2016)

Barthmes M., Liao J., Jiang Y., Brüggemann A., Wahl-Schott C.

2014 - Anticancer Ruthenium(III) Complex KP1019 Interferes with ATP-Dependent Ca2+ Translocation by Sarco-Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA)

Icon N1  SURFE²R N1 publication in ChemMedChem (2014)

Sadafi F.Z., Massai L., Bartolommei G., Moncelli M.R., Messori L., Tadini-Buoninsegni F.

2013 - Enhanced adsorption of Ca-ATPase containing vesicles on a negatively charged solid supported membrane for the investigation of membrane transporters

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 publication in Langmuir (2013)

Sacconi A., Moncelli M.R., Mergheri G., Tadini-Buoninsegni F.

2009 - Measuring Ion Channels on Solid Supported Membranes

Icon N1   SURFE²R ONE (a predecessor model of SURFE²R N1) publication in Biophysical Journal (2009)

Schulz P., Dueck B., Mourot A., Hatahet L., Fendler K.

2006 - Establishment of Cell-Free Electrophysiology for Ion Transporters: Application for Pharmacological Profiling

Icon N1   SURFE²R ONE (a predecessor model of SURFE²R N1) publication in Journal of Biomolecular Screening (2006)

Geibel S., Flores-Herr N., Licher T., Vollert H.


2020 - A novel approach to detect electrogenic transporter activity in intact cells applied to investigate iPSC derived cardiomyocytes and neurons

 Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 and   Icon 96SE   SURFE²R 96SE poster, 64th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society   logo pdf   (1.6 MB)

2018 - Label-free analysis of Na+/Ca2+- exchanger (NCX) isolated from iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 and   Icon 96SE   SURFE2R 96SE poster, Europhysiology Meeting 2018  logo pdf   (1.5 MB)

2018 - Transported by light: optogenetic control of NCX1

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 poster, Biophysics Annual Meeting 2018  logo pdf   (2.2 MB)

2015 - Organellar Transporters and Ion Channels - How to access their electrophysiology by using the SURFE2R technology and Planar Patch Clamp

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 and   icon sp96   SyncroPatch 96 (a predecessor model of the SyncroPatch 384PE) and   icon pap   Port-a-Patch poster, GRC - Organellar Channels and Transporters 2015   logo pdf   (1.6 MB)

2017 - An emerging technique for the characterization of transport proteins: SSM-based electrophysiology

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 and    Icon 96SE   SURFE²R SE96 poster, 19th IUPAB / 11th EBSA congress 2017  logo pdf   (3.3 MB)

2015 - Functional Characterization of Procaryotic NCX by Solid Supported Membrane Technology

Icon N1   SURFE²R N1 poster, Gordon Research Conference 2015  logo pdf   (0.9 MB)


5th Year PhD student, Nathan Thomas- Statement about the SURFE²R N1

Icon N1  “Unlocking the (Reversal) Potential of SSM Electrophysiology: Transporter Stoichiometry with the SURFE²R N1”logo pdf (1.7 MB)

Download the material presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society below 

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