We proposed and demonstrated a flexible and effective method to design and fabricate scanning probes for atomic force microscopy applications. Computer simulations were adopted to evaluate design specifications and desired performance of atomic force microscope (AFM) probes; the fabrication processes were guided by feedback from simulation results. Through design-simulation-fabrication iterations, tipless cantilevers and tapping mode probes were successfully made with errors as low as 2% in designed resonant frequencies. For tapping mode probes, the probe tip apex achieved a 10 nm radius of curvature without additional sharpening steps; tilt-compensated probes were also fabricated for better scanning performance. This method provides AFM users improved probe quality and practical guidelines for customized probes, which can support the development of novel scanning probe microscopy (SPM) applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics