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Characterizing Atomic Force Microscopy Tip Shape in Use

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A new tip characterizer based on the fabrication of multilayer thin films for atomic force microscopy (AFM) was developed to analyze the effective tip shape while in use. The precise structure of this tip characterizer was measured by transmission electron microscopy. Four different types of commercial tips with various radii were characterized by the tip characterizer and by conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results were compared to obtain a relationship between the actual and effective tip shapes. A quantitative analysis was performed of apex radii measured from line profiles of comb-shaped patterns and nanometer-scale knife-edges without the problem of edge uncertainty in the SEM image. Degradation of the AFM tip induced by electron-beam irradiation was studied by using SEM and the tip characterizer. A potential technique for fabricating symmetric AFM tips based on irradiation by an electron beam and a quantitative analysis of changing the tip apex in SEM were examined with AFM using the tip characterizer.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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