Thermal cantilevers originating from the IBM Millipede project are the core of the NanoFrazor technology. The cantilevers feature a heatable ultra-sharp tip and an integrated distance and topography sensor. This, along with a fast and precise electrostatic actuation mechanism allows for high speed and high resolution 2D and 3D patterning and imaging.
All NanoFrazor cantilevers are made of silicon. The fabrication of the NanoFrazor cantilevers is optimized to achieve ultra-sharp tips, accurate tip temperature control, fast actuation and high imaging sensitivity. The design, working principle and fabrication process is very different from AFM cantilevers and hence the NanoFrazor cantilevers are not compatible with any AFM.
At SwissLitho, we use multi-physics simulations of the electrical, thermal and mechanical properties in order to continuously improve the performance of the cantilevers for the diverse patterning and imaging applications.
The temperature of the resistive tip heater can be set up to 1100°C with a resolution of one Kelvin . The cantilever starts to distort above this temperature. The temperature calibration for a new cantilever is automatically performed in less than one second using the electrical characteristics of the tip heater and a fit from our multi-physics simulations. We published the details on this calibration scheme recently in the Journal of Applied Physics.
The unique integrated distance and topography sensor is a crucial feature of the NanoFrazor operation. It allows for fast and high-resolution imaging of the surface topography. Furthermore, it ensures that the distance of the tip from the surface is maintained constant during patterning. The heat conduction based cantilever sensor is automatically calibrated within one second using the well-calibrated Z piezo scanner as a reference.