A microwave microscope including a probe tip electrode vertically positionable over a sample and projecting downwardly from the end of a cantilever. A transmission line connecting the tip electrode to the electronic control system extends along the cantilever and is separated from a ground plane at the bottom of the cantilever by a dielectric layer. The probe tip may be vertically tapped near or at the sample surface at a low frequency and the microwave signal reflected from the tip/sample interaction is demodulated at the low frequency. Alternatively, a low-frequency electrical signal is also a non-linear electrical element associated with the probe tip to non-linearly interact with the applied microwave signal and the reflected non-linear microwave signal is detected at the low frequency. The non-linear element may be semiconductor junction formed near the apex of the probe tip or be an FET formed at the base of a semiconducting tip.
The invention is supported in part by the Center for Probing the Nanoscale (CPN) of Stanford University under National Science Foundation grant no. PHY-0425897 and is also supported by Department of Energy contracts DE-FG033-01ER45929-A001 and DE-FG36-08GOU7994.