Scanning Force Microscopy in the Dynamic Mode Using Microfabricated Capacitive Sensors

Copyright © (1996) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics

We report on the first successful operation of a scanning force microscope using microfabricated capacitive force sensors. The sensors which are made from single crystal Silicon on Insulator (SOI) wafers consist of a cantilever spring with integrated tip at the free end and an electrically insulated counter-electrode. Dynamic force gradient sensing is the preferred operating mode. Here, tip-sample interactions are detected by letting the sensor act as a resonator in a phase controlled oscillator set-up and measuring corresponding shifts of the oscillation frequency. Experiments were performed in vacuum using a standard tunneling microscope. A Cr grating on a quartz substrate served as test sample. Topographic images showing details on a 10 nm scale were obtained operating at a constant force gradient of the order of 0.01 N/m. In addition, critical design parameters are discussed based on an analysis of the electro-mechanical properties of the sensors.

By: N. Blanc (Univ. of Neuchatel, Switz.), J. Brugger (Univ. of Neuchatel, Switz.), N. F. de Rooij (Univ. of Neuchatel, Switz.) and U. Duerig

Published in: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B, volume 14, (no 2), pages 901-5 in 1996

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