Ion Beam Machining of Very Sharp Points
Original Publication Date: 1984-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-05
Directed ions are used to sputter off material from rotated rods or pins to obtain extremely sharp points, the starting material being a chemically or mechanically pre-prepared point. The proposed technique is reproducible and applicable to a wide variety of materials, such as silicon oxide or tungsten. The resulting tips may be employed in very high resolution microscopes, e.g., in scanning tunneling microscopes that typically use tungsten tips or in near-field optical microscopes that use sharp tips made of rods of transparent material. Further applications may be in other scientific instruments or mass storage devices. The figure schematically illustrates the ion beam system used and the arrangement of the pointed rod that is to be machined.