NanoWorld Ultra-Short Cantilevers (USC) for High-Speed AFM (HS-AFM) combine very small cantilevers capable of resonating in the MHz regime and a very sharp and wear resistant tip.
The cantilever of the USC series is rectangular and made of a quartz-like material. A gold layer is deposited on both sides of the cantilever in order to enhance the reflectance of the laser beam, but the tip remains uncoated. The wear resistant tip has been developed together with nanotools GmbH and sustains high velocity scans over long distances. It is made of High Density Carbon/Diamond Like Carbon (HDC/DLC) material which is hard and wear resistant. It has a height of 2.5 microns and a radius of curvature smaller than 10 nm.
The aspect ratio is in the order of 5 : 1 and the tilt compensation is 8° ensuring more symmetric AFM images.
The silicon support chip is of standard dimensions (1.6 mm x 3.4 mm x 0.3 mm). Additionally, it has etched and lowered corners in order to avoid contact between the support chip and the sample when scanning. Moreover it features alignment grooves on the back side of the silicon support chip which ensure replacement of the probes without major adjustment of the laser beam when used in conjunction with the alignment chip.
The type USC-F0.3-k0.3 is mainly designed for High-Speed AFM applications in liquid but can also be used for applications in air (depending on the application).
Gold Reflex Coating
The gold reflex coating consists of a 30 nm thick gold layer deposited on both sides of the cantilevers which enhances the reflectance of the laser beam. Furthermore it prevents light from interfering within the cantilever. As the coating is almost stress-free the bending of the cantilevers due to stress is less than 2 degrees
The tip remains uncoated.
System limitations: due to their small cantilever sizes and their very high resonance frequencies USC probes currently cannot be used in all commercially available SPMs and AFMs. Only AFMs with a sufficiently small laser spot and electronics that are capable of dealing with high resonance frequencies of up to 5 MHz are able to work with the USC probes. If in doubt whether these probes can be used in your AFM please check back with us or with your AFM manufacturer.