Special Probe Designs

At SmartTip we are continuously investigating possibilities for new probes. On this page a selection of some special probes is presented.


Trident Probe

Tripod probe

The tripod probe or trident probe consists of three identical tips. This design enables new options in for example scanning of sidewall profiles not accessible by standard probes.

Thermal and Hall sensor probe

Thermal and Hall sensor probe

This probe features an AFM-type cantilever with a sharp pyramidal tip composed of four freestanding silicon nitride nanowires coated by conductive material. The nanowires form an electrical cross junction at the apex of the tip, addressable through the electrodes integrated on the cantilever. The cross junction on the tip apex can be utilized to produce heat and detect local temperature changes or to serve as a miniaturized Hall magnetometer enabling, in principle, thermal and magnetic imaging by scanning the probe tip over a surface.

In-plane AFM

In-plane AFM probe

Scanning rates of the atomic force microscope (AFM) could be significantly increased by integrating the force sensing probe with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). We present a micromachining method for batch fabrication of in-plane AFM probes that consist of an ultra-sharp silicon nitride tip on a single crystal silicon cantilever.

Membrane probe

Membrane probe

 A drastic reduction of friction (superlubricity) on a scanning probe tip can be achieved by electrostatic force modulation. A novel AFM probe with an electrostatic circular membrane actuator monolithically integrated at the end of the cantilever allow an improved control of force excitation and consequently a more stable small-amplitude oscillation, which is essential for reduced friction.


For more information about special or custom-made probes, please contact us.