Comparison of Thermal and Piezoresistive Sensing Approaches for Atomic Force Microscopy Topography Measurements

King, W.P., Kenny, T.W., and Goodson, K.E., 2004, "Comparison of Thermal and Piezoresistive Sensing Approaches for Atomic Force Microscopy Topography Measurements," Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 85, pp. 2086-2088.

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Atomic force microscope cantilevers with integrated piezoresistive displacement sensors are widely used for nanometer-scale topographic measurement and force sensing. Heated cantilevers used in thermomechanical data storage are a promising alternative for topographic measurement. For both cantilever types, this letter models and predicts cantilever displacement sensitivity and noise-limited displacement resolution. The predictions for the thermal cantilever sensitivity compare well with data. Comparing the thermal cantilever with a similarly sized piezoresistive cantilever, the thermal cantilever provides more than one order of magnitude improved performance in both sensitivity and resolution over the piezoresistive cantilever.

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