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Examination of Atomic (Scanning) Force Microscopy Probe Tips with the Transmission Electron Microscope

  • J.A. DeRose (a1) and J.-P. Revel (a1)

Abstract: We have developed a method for the examination of atomic force microscopy (scanning force microscopy) tips using a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM). The tips can be imaged in a nondestructive way, enabling one to observe the shape of an atomic force microscope probe in the vicinity of the apex with high resolution. We have obtained images of atomic force microscopy probes with a resolution on the order of 1 nm. The tips can be imaged repeatedly, so one can examine tips before and after use. We have found that the tip can become blunted with use, the rate of wear depending upon the sample and tip materials and the scanning conditions. We have also found that the tips easily accrue contamination. We have studied both commercially produced tips, as well as tips grown by electron beam deposition. Direct imaging in the TEM should prove useful for image deconvolution methods because one does not have to make any assumptions concerning the general shape of the tip profile.

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Microscopy and Microanalysis
  • ISSN: 1431-9276
  • EISSN: 1435-8115
  • URL: /core/journals/microscopy-and-microanalysis
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