Saturday, June 24, 2006

US Patent 7064341 - Coated Nanotube For Scanning Probe Microscope

While this blog covers both nanotechnology and micromechanical (MEMS) related patents, nanotechnlogy and MEMS are very different disciplines involving different manufacturing techniques, different materials, and different applications. However, scanning probe microscopes unite the world of MEMS and the world of nanotechnology by providing a MEMS device with a sharp tip capable of manipulation or detection on the nanoscale. This nanoscale detection is made easier by forming the sharp tip out of nanotubes which provide high aspect ratio tips for detection or manipulation in regions that conventional scanning probe tips can not access. This patent deals with reducing the vibration when using nanotubes as the scanning probe tip by providing a coating over the nanotube tip (which may also be used to facilitate bonding between the nanotube and scanning probe). Claim 1 reads:

1. A coated nanotube surface signal probe characterized in that said probe comprises a nanotube (24), a holder (2a) which holds said nanotube (24), and a coating film (29) fastening a base end portion (24b) of said nanotube (24) to a surface of said holder with a tip end portion (24a) of said nanotube (24) being caused to protrude from said holder (2a) wherein said probe is assembled by direct observation in an electron microscope, said coating film is formed by irradiating a base end portion of said nanotube (24) with an electron beam in said electron microscope so as to fasten said nanotube (24) to said holder (2a) by said resulting coating film (29), and said tip end portion (24a) is used as a probe needle so as to scan surface signals.