Mass-producible monolithic silicon probes for scanning probe microscopes

Chang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper describes the design, fabrication, and characterization of monolithically micromachined silicon probes for Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM) applications. Each probe contains three integral components: an atomically sharp tip, a supporting flexural beam and a handle for packaging. A new fabrication technology for producing highly uniform devices has been developed, in which robust processing steps such as oxidation sharpening and etch stop are utilized to replace steps that require critical timing. Improved device uniformity and mass-producibility include the following aspects: (1) wafer-as well as batch-scale uniformity of tip/beam geometry, (2) robust compensation of uncertainty and inaccuracy in process and materials, and (3) no requirement for post-process assembly (e.g. wafer-wafer bonding). The flexural beam exhibits good mechanical characteristics (high resonant frequency, zero intrinsic stress, low creep and fatigue) due to the monolithic single crystal silicon material used. Mechanical characteristics of the probes, including resonant frequencies and quality factor, have been experimentally determined using a laser Doppler vibrometer. The operation of probes has been successfully demonstrated in force feedback configuration (AFM mode).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConference Record - IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference
Editors Anon
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
EventProceedings of the 1998 IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference, IMTC. Part 1 (of 2) - St.Paul, MN, USA
Duration: May 18 1998May 21 1998


OtherProceedings of the 1998 IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference, IMTC. Part 1 (of 2)
CitySt.Paul, MN, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation

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