Fabrication of advanced probes for atomic force microscopy using focused ion beam

The method of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) holds the greatest
promise for surface diagnostics and analysis. The use of AFM allows
one to study the local geometric, electrical, and mechanical properties
of the substrate surface and form nanoscale structures on the surface
of solids [1]. The resolution of AFM is defined by many factors, most of
which are related to the shape and quality of the preparation of probes.
In the recent years, an important task is to fabricate probes with
advanced parameters, in particular with the help of focused ion beam
technology [2,3]. FIB enables reproducible and precisematerial processing
with high accuracy. Material removal by ion beam milling and FIBinduced
chemical vapour material deposition can be used for the
fabrication of structures with micro- and nanoscale dimensions. The
key feature of FIB is the high spatial resolution which is provided by
the application of a gallium ion beam 7 nm in diameter, as well as by
the possibility of varying the impact of the parameters over wide limits
[4]. In contrast to conventional fabrication techniques based on optical
lithography with the application of photoresist and material processing
a direct writing mode by FIB allows precise nanopatterning even on
sample with advanced topography [5].
In thisworkwe describe the fabrication of advanced probes for AFM
and nanolithography by the FIB local milling and their applications.

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