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Sharp High-Aspect-Ratio AFM Tips Fabricated by a Combination of Deep Reactive Ion Etching and Focused Ion Beam Techniques

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The shape and dimensions of an atomic force microscope tip are crucial factors to obtain high resolution images at the nanoscale. When measuring samples with narrow trenches, inclined side-walls near 90° or nanoscaled structures, standard silicon atomic force microscopy (AFM) tips do not provide satisfactory results. We have combined deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) and focused ion beam (FIB) lithography techniques in order to produce probes with sharp rocket-shaped silicon AFM tips for high resolution imaging. The cantilevers were shaped and the bulk micromachining was performed using the same DRIE equipment. To improve the tip aspect ratio we used FIB nanolithography technique. The tips were tested on narrow silicon trenches and over biological samples showing a better resolution when compared with standard AFM tips, which enables nanocharacterization and nanometrology of high-aspect-ratio structures and nanoscaled biological elements to be completed, and provides an alternative to commercial high aspect ratio AFM tips.
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Keywords: ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY; DEEP REACTIVE ION ETCHING; FOCUSED ION BEAM LITHOGRAPHY; HIGH-ASPECT-RATIO

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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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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