The atomic force microscope (AFM) has become a standard and wide spread instrument for characterizing nanoscale devices and can be found in most of today's research and development areas. The NanoBits project provides exchangeable and customizable scanning probe tips that can be attached to standard AFM cantilevers offering an unprecedented freedom in adapting the shape and size of the tips to the surface topology of the specific application. NanoBits themselves are 2-4 μm long and 120-150 nm thin flakes of heterogeneous materials fabricated in different approaches. These novel tips will allow for characterizing three dimensional high-aspect ratio and sidewall structures of critical dimensions such as nanooptical photonic components and semiconductor architectures which is a bottle-neck in reaching more efficient manufacturing techniques. It is thus an enabling approach for almost all future nanoscale applications.
The following SEM images illustrate the microgripper-based assembly of prototypic NanoBit AFM probes.
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