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Popular AFM Probes


High density diamond-like carbon

Taking advantage of automated gas-assisted electron beam induced processing, we are highly experienced in fabricating bulk amorphous, high density diamond-like carbon (HDC/DLC) SPM tips with exceptional mechanical and chemical properties.

With a Young's modulus eight times higher than that of silicon and an outstanding wear resistance, HDC/DLC tips allow for constant high-resolution measurements at improved reliability and throughput.

Intrinsically inert, the tip surface is resistant to chemicals such as acids, bases, dry etch residues, or organic solvents and makes reproducible investigations with minimised tip-sample interactions possible.


Roughness measurements on a freshly etched polysilicon sample with the nanotools HDC/DLC tip SSE (green) and a state-of-the-art silicon tip (red). While the Si tip rapidly degrades over the number of measurement cycles, the nanotools SSE tip not only reveals higher initial resolution (A) — even on its 100th scan it also outperforms the fresh Si tip (B). (1 µm×1 µm, 1 Hz, 512 scan lines)


Tip wear

Tip wear recorded as a function of the measurement cycles. Compared to nanotools critical dimension (CD) AFM tips CDR-EBD made of HDC/DLC (green), standard silicon-based CD AFM tips (red) reveal a considerably reduced tip lifetime (top), which is accompanied by an increasing tip vertical edge height emerging already after a few measurement cycles (bottom). Published in Foucher J. et al., Proc SPIE, 8324, 2012.


Tip lifetime

Tip lifetime depending on the tip qualification tip width limit. Left axis: relative tip lifetime of a nanotools M-CIS (green bars) and a state-of-the-art Si probe (red bars) as a function of the tip qualification tip width limit. With decreasing tip width limit, the tip lifetime enhancement due to usage of an M-CIS probe becomes more and more pronounced (right axis, grey dots). At a tip width limit of 50 nm the tip lifetime of the M-CIS probe is more than 25 times greater than that of the standard Si probe.