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Method for an AFM or profilometric cantilever with an integrated microanalysis sensor

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000020727D
Publication Date: 2003-Dec-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 65K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for an atomic force microscope (AFM) or profilometric cantilever with an integrated microanalysis sensor. Benefits include improved functionality and improved performance.

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Method for an AFM or profilometric cantilever with an integrated microanalysis sensor

Disclosed is a method for an atomic force microscope (AFM) or profilometric cantilever with an integrated microanalysis sensor. Benefits include improved functionality and improved performance.

Background

Elemental and molecular microanalysis of surfaces and interfaces are primarily photon or electron-based. In these instruments, the electron or photon-based sensor is located at a considerable distance (several tens of centimeters) from the submicron-sized region of analytical interest, subjecting them to several limitations.

For an electron probe with electron analysis (such as auger or backscattering electrons), a poor signal-to-noise ratio occurs. In the auger case, planar spatial spreading occurs coupled with the relatively small probability for the event causes a significant issue with signal to noise at the detector.

For an electron probe with photon analysis, the electron-material interaction volume is significantly larger than the region of analytical interest.

For a photon probe with electron analysis, the spot size is typically much larger than the region of analytical interest due to the limitation of x-ray focusing.

For a photon probe with photon analysis, the spot size is typically much larger than the region of analytical interest due to diffraction limitations or x-ray focusing limitations. The proximity of the sensor to the region of analytical interest enables increased signal capture.

With conventional instruments, where the sensor is several tens of centimeters away from the sub-micron region of interest, weaker but valuable signals are usually submerged in background noise.

         One conventional solution uses background subtraction techniques to eliminate some of the interaction-volume effects with certain assumptions made about the interaction volume and application of concepts, such as Beer’s law. Another solution is the development of sensors with higher sensitivity.

General description

The disclosed method uses an integrated, solid state sensor for electron or photon detection on an AFM or profilometric cantilever in an electron- or photon-based elemental and molecular microanalysis instrument. The close proximity of the sensor to the measurement location and the physical blocking of background signal by the geometry of the AFM/profilometric tip results in the collection of the signal only from the area of analytical interest. Signals from the rest of the interaction volume are screened out, resulting in vastly superior signal-to-noise characteristics and enabling analysis and resolution that is beyond the capability of conventional instrumentation.

         The key elements of the method include:

•         AFM or profilometric cantilever in an electron/photon-based microanalysis system

•         Integration of electron or photon-detection sensor on the cantilever

•         Supe...