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Title: Characterizing nanoscale scanning probes using electron microscopy: A novel fixture and a practical guide

The nanoscale geometry of probe tips used for atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements determines the lateral resolution, contributes to the strength of the tip-surface interaction, and can be a significant source of uncertainty in the quantitative analysis of results. While inverse imaging of the probe tip has been used successfully to determine probe tip geometry, direct observation of the tip profile using electron microscopy (EM) confers several advantages: it provides direct (rather than indirect) imaging, requires fewer algorithmic parameters, and does not require bringing the tip into contact with a sample. In the past, EM-based observation of the probe tip has been achieved using ad hoc mounting methods that are constrained by low throughput, the risk of contamination, and repeatability issues. We report on a probe fixture designed for use in a commercial transmission electron microscope that enables repeatable mounting of multiple AFM probes as well as a reference grid for beam alignment. This communication describes the design, fabrication, and advantages of this probe fixture, including full technical drawings for machining. Further, best practices are discussed for repeatable, non-destructive probe imaging. Finally, examples of the fixture’s use are described, including characterization of common commercial AFM probes in their out-of-the-box condition.
Authors:
 [1] ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh, 3700 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15208 (United States)
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, 220 S. 33rd St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22482822
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Review of Scientific Instruments; Journal Volume: 87; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPY; DESIGN; GRIDS; MACHINING; NANOSTRUCTURES; PROBES; RESOLUTION; SURFACES; TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY