Development of self-vibration/detection AFM probe using quartz tuning fork



We present a novel type of quartz tuning-fork probe, which oscillates and detects its own probe deformation, for atomic force microscopy (AFM) systems. The quartz tuning-fork structure was fabricated using anisotropic wet etching, and a sharp tip was formed on a beam using a focused ion beam (FIB) system. We evaluated the vibration properties of the fabricated tuning fork with the tip structure in an anti-phase vibration mode and obtained a Q-factor value of 2.5 to 2.8 × 103. This value was one order larger than that of a conventional Si probe. We experimentally clarified that the tuning-fork probe measured a 100-nm step of the Si surface, as well as the debris with a thickness of a few tens of nanometers on the surface by self-vibration and self-detection in cyclic-contact mode AFM. Copyright © 2009 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.