Force modulation for improved conductive-mode atomic force microscopy

W.W. Koelmans, Abu Sebastian, Michel Despont, Haris Pozidis

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    We present an improved conductive-mode atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) method by modulating the applied loading force on the tip. Unreliable electrical contact and tip wear are the primary challenges for electrical characterization at the nanometer scale. The experiments show that force modulation reduces tip wear by a factor of three and enhances electrical contact between tip and sample, which allows operation at lower loading force and further reduction of tip and sample wear. Long-term wear experiments with platinum silicide tips on phase change media (Ge8Sb2Te11) show a nine and two times higher conductance for loading forces of 10 and 20 nN, respectively. The proposed technique could be of significant importance in applications such as probe storage and metrology, as long-term, reliable conduction in C-AFM remains a challenge.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th IEEE Conference on Nanotechnology, IEEE-NANO 2010
    Place of PublicationSeoul
    Number of pages4
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4244-7033-4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

    Publication series



    • METIS-276182
    • EWI-18968
    • Nano-meter scale
    • Nanotechnology
    • Force modulation
    • Applied loading
    • AFM
    • IR-77022
    • Tellurium compoundsEngineering main heading: Antimony
    • Platinum
    • Platinum silicides
    • Phase change media
    • Electric contacts
    • Electrical characterization
    • Electrical contacts
    • Silicides
    • Probe Storage
    • Loading
    • Loading force
    • Tip wearEngineering controlled terms: Atomic force microscopy
    • TST-Stobots: Storage Robots
    • TST-uSPAM: micro Scanning Probe Array Memory
    • TST-SMI: Formerly in EWI-SMI
    • Germanium

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