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MEMS displacement generator for atomic force microscopy metrology

Babij, M; Majstrzyk, W; Sierakowski, A; Janus, P; Grabiec, P; Ramotowski, Z; Yacoot, A; Gotszalk, T (2021) MEMS displacement generator for atomic force microscopy metrology. Measurement Science and Technology, 32 (6). 065903 ISSN 0957-0233

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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) enables three-dimensional high-resolution imaging of surfaces with nanoscale features. In order to obtain the quantitative information about surface geometry, the atomic force microscope's scanning system must be calibrated. This is usually done by using calibration samples of known and/or defined shape based on either lithographic or crystal structures. In this work we report on a microelectromechanical (MEMS) device, referred to as a displacement generator, whose vertical deflection is controlled electronically. The designed, fabricated and applied device is formed out of a silicon nitride doubly clamped lever, referred to as a microbridge, with a deposited pair of platinum strips. When the MEMS displacement generator is immersed in a magnetic field and when it is electrically biased, the associated Lorentz force induces a structural displacement. In the presented design, the silicon nitride microbridges were fabricated on a (110) silicon wafer in a Wheatstone bridge configuration. A second reference cantilever was mechanically supported by the silicon substrate. In this way, a highly symmetrical structure was fabricated, making it possible to control precisely deflection in Z direction with sub-nanometre precision. The cantilever's high resonance frequency, of ca. 500 kHz, makes the constructed device insensitive to external vibration sources which are typically at much lower frequencies. As the stage function can be described using the simple harmonic oscillator (SHO) model, it is clear that the system can operate with sub-nanometre resolution, which, for the purpose of microscope calibration, is extremely beneficial. By placing of the atomic force microscope tip on the actuated reference device it is possible to determine the response of the system over a wide frequency bandwidth. In this work we will describe the fabrication process of the MEMS displacement generator, interferometric and traceable investigations of thermomechanical and electromagnetic actuation schemes. Moreover, we will present the results of the calibration of an atomic force microscope operating in contact and intermittent contact modes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Engineering Measurements > Dimensional
Divisions: Engineering
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/1361-6501/abc28a
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2021 13:55
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/9262

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