Characterizing atomic force microscopy tip shape in use

Hiroshi Itoh, Chunmei Wang*, Jielin Sun, Jun Hu, Dianhong Shen, Shingo Ichimura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A new tip characterizer based on the fabrication of multilayer thin films for atomic force microscopy (AFM) was developed to analyze the effective tip shape while in use. The precise structure of this tip characterizer was measured by transmission electron microscopy. Four different types of commercial tips with various radii were characterized by the tip characterizer and by conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results were compared to obtain a relationship between the actual and effective tip shapes. A quantitative analysis was performed of apex radii measured from line profiles of comb-shaped patterns and nanometer-scale knife-edges without the problem of edge uncertainty in the SEM image. Degradation of the AFM tip induced by electron-beam irradiation was studied by using SEM and the tip characterizer. A potential technique for fabricating symmetric AFM tips based on irradiation by an electron beam and a quantitative analysis of changing the tip apex in SEM were examined with AFM using the tip characterizer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-808
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • AFM
  • Cantilever
  • SEM
  • Superlattice
  • Tip characterizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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