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Exchangeable and Customizable Scanning Probe Tips (NanoBits)
Start date: Sep 1, 2010, End date: Aug 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The atomic force microscope (AFM) has become a standard and wide spread instrument for characterizingnanoscale devices and can be found in most of today's research and development areas. The NanoBitsproject provides exchangeable and customizable scanning probe tips that can be attached to standard AFMcantilevers offering an unprecedented freedom in adapting the shape and size of the tips to the surfacetopology of the specific application. NanoBits themselves are 2-4 μm long and 120-150 nm thin flakes ofheterogeneous materials fabricated in different approaches. These novel tips will allow for characterizing threedimensional high-aspect ratio and sidewall structures of critical dimensions such as nanooptical photoniccomponents and semiconductor architectures which is a bottle-neck in reaching more efficient manufacturingtechniques. It is thus an enabling approach for almost all future nanoscale applications.A miniaturized robotic microsystem combining innovative nanosensors and actuators will be used to explorenew strategies of micro-nano-integration in order to realize a quick exchange of NanoBits. For the fabricationof the NanoBits, two different techniques are proposed. On the one hand, a standard silicon processingtechnique enables batch fabrication of various NanoBits designs defined by electron beam lithography. On theother hand, focused ion beam milling can be used to structure a blank of heterogeneous materials, the socallednembranes. Novel scanning modes in atomic force microscopy will be developed to take full advantageof the different NanoBits geometries and to realize AFM imaging of critical dimension structures. Theinnovative nanoimaging capabilities will be applied to characterize and develop novel nanooptical photonicstructures in the wavelength or even sub-wavelength range and TERS applications in the nanomaterial andbiomedical sector. Especially the involved SMEs will exploit and disseminate the results to potential users torealize a more efficient micro-and nanomanufacturing.
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