SBIR Phase II: Batch Fabrication of High Aspect Ratio Metallic AFM Probes

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

11300 Decimal Dr., Louisville
Louisville, KY 40299
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop a low-cost manufacturing process to produce conductive and high-aspect-ratio probes for atomic force microscopy (AFM). A new fabrication tool with high-precision alignment and in-situ process monitoring sensors will be designed and constructed. The probes (so-called NeedleProbes) will be fabricated in a batch process that can pattern an entire wafer of conventional AFM probes with freestanding metal alloy nanowire tips. The broader/commercial impacts of this project will be the potential to provide affordable, conductive and high-aspect-ratio AFM probes that would be well suited in biology for cell scanning and probing, and materials science for imaging of ultra-high-aspect-ratio structures, and electronic measurement of nanostructures. The current fabrication method of AFM probes is a serial process that produces approximately five probes per hour. The advancement in this project toward batch fabrication is expected to extend far beyond the current fabrication method and result in a price reduction of the probes by a factor of 5.