Silicon and silicon nitride metal-coated cantilevers have been in use for a long time in several scanning probe microscopy applications that require electrically conductive probes. However, conventional metalized cantilevers present several drawbacks such as limited life-time of the metal layer due to wear, and increased tip radius. This work focuses on monolithic metallic cantilevers developed in order to overcome the limitations of conventional metalized atomic force microscopy (AFM) probes. These custom-made cantilevers are designed for several applications such as in current-sensing AFM (CSAFM), Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). Determination of the dynamic and static mechanical properties of these cantilevers in a non-destructive way is reported here. Key parameters under investigation are the cantilever spring constant and the frequency response using finite element method (FEM). Gold cantilevers are selected for this study, which allow optimizing the design and the process of developing these metallic cantilevers with parameters engineered for the applications mentioned above. This work contributes to the establishment and applicability of custom-made probes in advanced scanning probe microscopy methods and their performance understanding using computer simulations.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.