Accurate micron-scale modification of AFM cantilevers

Bowen, James; Rotov, Mikhail; Kendall, Kevin and Preece, Jon A. (2002). Accurate micron-scale modification of AFM cantilevers. In: Nanomanufacturing Symposium, 17 Dec 2002, Cranfield, UK.



Atomic force microscopy has provided the modern researcher with the ability to perform accurate force measurements between a probe and a surface. The data obtained can be used in the development of biosensors, surfactants, and materials with enhanced properties, to name only a few applications. The atomic force microscope (AFM) is undoubtedly suited for making repeated force measurements. Standard AFM cantilevers can be modified through the attachment of a colloid probe such as silica, and employed in the analysis of forces between surfaces. Resin-based or glass bond adhesives are suitable for probe bonding, as they are insoluble in water once set. However, such adhesives often require heating to reduce their viscosity, which makes the procedure quite difficult to carry out. The particle is usually attached to the apex of the cantilever, so that measurements can be performed with optimum force resolution. Particle attachment is traditionally carried out under an optical microscope using thin wire as a guide. However, there is no guarantee that the colloid particle has been accurately positioned on the apex of the cantilever.

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