Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Patent 7571638 - Integrated scanning probe cantilever and tip


Scanning probe microscopes may be considered a bridge between the microscale processing found in MEMS and the nanoscale processing found in molecular materials research. This patent teaches a supposedly "new" way to make a scanning probe microscope in which the elements forming the probe are integrated in a common material and formed in a plane which may make it easier to fabricate a larger variety of tip and cantilever shapes. Some earlier examples of integrated scanning probe tips include US Patent 5,021,364 and US Patent 6,415,653 (see Fig. 11 with body 118, cantilever 140, and tip 138 formed in a plane). Claim 1 of this latest patent reads:

1. An SPM tip assembly including:

a body, a cantilever, and a tip arranged in a configuration, wherein the body, the cantilever and the tip are made entirely from a material in which the configuration is created in a plane having two axes, wherein the z axis or principal axis of motion is one of the two axes.