"Advances in micro-, nano-, and biotechnology put increasing demands on nanoscale microscopy and characterization. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is one of the highest resolution microscopy methods used in this area. This project focuses on new sensor technology for the detection of the cantilever deflection for high-speed AFM cantilevers. This new technology allow the fabrication of much smaller, thinner and thereby faster cantilevers for high-speed AFM, and make them suitable for a much broader range of applications, especially in the life sciences. While traditional AFMs use optical detection of the cantilever sensor and yield very high resolution images, their imaging speed is low. They are difficult to automate and the integration into other analysis techniques is limited due to the required optical components. This project aims at removing these limitations for a large area of attractive AFM-applications such as fast analysis in materials science and biological applications. The innovative concept is based on ""Fast All-eLectric Cantilever for biO applicatioNs“ FALCON. The FALCON cantilevers will use novel granular tunnelling resistors (NTR), which are fabricated with a mask-less direct writing technique: focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID). The AFM cantilever will be equipped with an NTR deflection sensor that directly measures the cantilever signal electrically, which removes the need for optical cantilever detection. Recent improvements in AFM cantilever technology have increased the imaging speed of AFM by up to two orders of magnitude by miniaturizing AFM cantilevers (SCL and AMG-T). The unique approach in this proposal, which builds on new materials and fabrication processes (NANOSS), will allow the manufacturing of unprecedented small cantilever sensors with vastly superior performance in imaging speed and usability. These cantilevers will be compatible with a wide variety of existing AFMs and applications in materials and life science."
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