Novel Paradigm in Afm Probe Fabrication: Broadened Range of Stiffness, Materials, and Tip Shapes

Milczarek, Michał; Jarzabek, Dariusz Marek; Jenczyk, Piotr; Bochenek, Kamil; Filipiak, Maciej

SSRN Electronic Journal (2022)

There is a big gap in experimental tribology on the boundary between the nano- and microscale caused by a limited selection of tools for such measurements. Atomic force microscopes could be used, unfortunately, probes available on the market are only made of silicon or silicon nitride with a stiffness in the range of 0.01 to 100 N/m. We strive to solve this problem by designing all-metal probes and fabricating them using a novel method. The proposed fabrication method is characterized by the use of a copper substrate and electrodeposition in a mould prepared by indentation and photolithography. Prototype probes fabricated with this method were made of nickel with a stiffness of 20 N/m and 2800 N/m and were used for topography and friction measurements on various materials. Both the method and all-metal probes showed flexibility and great potential, especially in the field of nano/microtribology.