Reliable nanoscale electrical characterization using Graphene-coated Atomic Force Microscope tips

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Electrical characterization at the nanoscale is an essential procedure for analyzing the performance of many materials used at both industry and academia. In this field, one of the most powerful tools is the Conductive Atomic Force Microscope (CAFM), which can characterize the electrical properties of both conductive and thin insulating materials at areas as small as 3 nm2. The main challenge associated with this technique is the poor reliability of the tips, which metallic varnish can wear out very fast due to high current densities and frictions when scanning the surface of the sample under test. In this work, we successfully fabricated conductive tips for the CAFM that show ultra-high performance, by coating commercially available metal-varnished tips with a sheet of GSL following the standard transfer process. Graphene-coated tips are much more resistant to both high currents and frictions than commercially available metal-varnished CAFM tips, leading to much longer lifetimes and preventing false imaging due to tip-sample interaction. The novel devices can be interesting not only for reducing tip replacement costs, but also for those applications that require high stability and low tip-sample interaction (e.g., resistive switching).

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2013: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational (Volume 2)
Published: May 12, 2013
Pages: 466 - 469
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topics: Advanced Manufacturing, Nanoelectronics
ISBN: 978-1-4822-0584-8