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Sensing mode atomic force microscope

United States Patent

February 11, 2003
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Brookhaven National Laboratory - Visit the Office of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships Website
An atomic force microscope utilizes a pulse release system and improved method of operation to minimize contact forces between a probe tip affixed to a flexible cantilever and a specimen being measured. The pulse release system includes a magnetic particle affixed proximate the probe tip and an electromagnetic coil. When energized, the electromagnetic coil generates a magnetic field which applies a driving force on the magnetic particle sufficient to overcome adhesive forces exhibited between the probe tip and specimen. The atomic force microscope includes two independently displaceable piezo elements operable along a Z-axis. A controller drives the first Z-axis piezo element to provide a controlled approach between the probe tip and specimen up to a point of contact between the probe tip and specimen. The controller then drives the first Z-axis piezo element to withdraw the cantilever from the specimen. The controller also activates the pulse release system which drives the probe tip away from the specimen during withdrawal. Following withdrawal, the controller adjusts the height of the second Z-axis piezo element to maintain a substantially constant approach distance between successive samples.
Hough; Paul V. C. (Port Jefferson, NY), Wang; Chengpu (Upton, NY)
Brookhaven Science Associates (Upton, NY)
09/ 054,809
April 3, 1998
This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-AC02-98CH10886, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.