Improving Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)


Research paper “Enhancing sensitivity in atomic force microscopy for planar tip-on-chip probes” from Eindhoven University of Technology, Lorraine University and DRF/IRAMIS/SPEC-LEPO, Centre CEA de Saclay.


“We present a new approach to tuning-fork-based atomic force microscopy for utilizing advanced “tip-on-chip” probes with high sensitivity and broad compatibility. Usually, such chip-like probes with a size reaching 2 × 2 mm2 drastically perturb the oscillation of the tuning fork, resulting in poor performance in its intrinsic force sensing. Therefore, restoring initial oscillatory characteristics is necessary for regaining high sensitivity. To this end, we developed a new approach consisting of three basic steps: tuning-fork rebalancing, revamping holder-sensor fixation, and electrode reconfiguration. Mass rebalancing allows the tuning fork to recover the frequency and regain high Q-factor values up to 104 in air and up to 4 × 104 in ultra-high vacuum conditions. The floating-like holder-fixation using soft wires significantly reduces energy dissipation from the mounting elements. Combined with the soft wires, reconfigured electrodes provide electrical access to the chip-like probe without intervening in the force-sensing signal. Finally, our easy-to-implement approach allows converting the atomic force microscopy tip from a passive tool to a dedicated microdevice with extended functionality.”

Find the open access technical paper here. Published May, 2022.

Çiftçi, H.T., Verhage, M., Cromwijk, T. et al. Enhancing sensitivity in atomic force microscopy for planar tip-on-chip probes. Microsyst Nanoeng 8, 51 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41378-022-00379-x

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