Quantification of tip-broadening in non-contact atomic force microscopy with carbon nanotube tips

Kristoffer Meinander, Thomas N. Jensen, Soren B. Simonsen, Stig Helveg, Jeppe Vang Lauritsen

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Carbon nanotube terminated atomic force microscopy (AFM) probes have been used for the imaging of 5 nm wide surface supported Pt nanoclusters by non-contact (dynamic mode) AFM in an ultra-high vacuum. The results are compared to AFM measurements done with conventional Si-tips, as well as with transmission electron microscopy images, which give accurate measures for cluster widths. Despite their ideal aspect ratio, tip-broadening is concluded to be a severe problem even when imaging with carbon nanotube tips, which overestimates the cluster width by several times the nominal width of the nanotube tip. This broadening is attributed to a bending of the carbon nanotubes, and not to pure geometrical factors, which coincidentally results in a significant improvement for relative height measurements of tightly spaced high aspect ratio structures, as compared to what can be achieved with geometrically limited conventional probes. Superior durability also stands out as a defining feature of carbon nanotube terminated probes, allowing them to give results with a greatly enhanced reproducibility.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number40
Pages (from-to)-
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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