Tuesday, March 25, 2008

US Patent 7347085 - Optical resonator and cantilever probe for nanoscale displacement detection


Atomic force microscopes usually include a cantilever with a probe tip in which laser light is reflected from the cantilever to detect nanoscale displacements of the cantilever. This patent from Agilient Technologies teaches an alternative approach using structural mating features between the cantilever and an optical resonator. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanoscale displacement detector comprising: an optical resonator including a first structural feature; and a cantilever including a probe tip and a second structural feature engaging with the first structural feature; wherein the first and second structural features are configured such that displacement of the cantilever relative to the optical resonator causes a change in the resonant frequency of the optical resonator.