Six-fold improvement in nanotopography sensing via temperature control of a heated atomic force microscope cantilever

Suhas Somnath, Elise A. Corbin, William Paul King

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Heated atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers can be used to thermally sense the nanotopography of a surface. Previous reports show that cantilever nanotopography sensitivity can be increased by either modifying the cantilever design or by increasing the operating temperature of the cantilever. This article describes six-fold improvement to cantilever sensitivity by using control mechanisms to maintain either constant cantilever electrical resistance, cantilever dissipated power, or the voltage across the circuit. Topographical imaging was performed on a 20nm tall silicon calibration grating under each of these control schemes. The topographies obtained by the laser-deflection and the thermal signal corresponding to each control mechanism were compared. The thermal nanotopography sensitivity is improved by as much as 570% by controlling cantilever resistance and 345% by controlling power supply to the cantilever. Overall, the topography sensitivity using heated cantilevers is 500 times greater than that using similarly sized piezoresistive cantilevers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Sensors 2010 Conference, SENSORS 2010
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2010
Event9th IEEE Sensors Conference 2010, SENSORS 2010 - Waikoloa, HI, United States
Duration: Nov 1 2010Nov 4 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Sensors


Other9th IEEE Sensors Conference 2010, SENSORS 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaikoloa, HI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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