Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Patent 7572300 - Nanowire AFM tip


Atomic Force Microscopes are a variety of scanning probes for inspecting the shapes and characteristics of nanostructures via Van der Waals forces. This patent from IBM (who originally developed AFMs in the 1980s) teaches a method of forming ultrasharp tips of nanowires on the apex of the AFM while removing unwanted nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of forming a scanning probe comprising:

forming an array of cantilevers;

forming a silicon pyramid having sidewalls and a tip by anisotropic etching over each of said cantilevers;

depositing a catalyst on the sidewalls and the tip of said silicon pyramid;

growing a plurality of nanowires from said catalyst over said sidewalls and said tip of said silicon pyramid; and

removing nanowires from said sidewalls of said silicon pyramid.