Chui, B.W., Stowe, T.D., Ju, Y.S., Goodson, K.E., Kenny, T.W., Mamin, H.J., Terris, B.D., Ried, R.P., and Rugar, D., 1998, “Low-Stiffness Silicon Cantilevers with Integrated Heaters and Piezoresistive Sensors for High-Density AFM Thermomechanical Data Storage,” IEEE/ASME Journal of MicroElectroMechnical Systems, Vol. 7, pp. 69-78.



Single-crystal silicon cantilevers 1 micron thick have been demonstrated for use in high-density atomic-force microscopy (AFM) thermomechanical data storage. Cantilevers with integrated piezoresistive sensors were fabricated with measured sensitivities DeltaR/R up to 7.5 x10-7 per Angstrom in close agreement with theoretical predictions. Separate cantilevers with integrated resistive heaters were fabricated using the same basic process.  Electrical and thermal measurements on these heating devices produced results consistent with ANSYS simulations. Geometric variants of the cantilever were also tested in order to study the dependence of the thermal time constant on device parameters.  Depending on the design, time constants as low as 1 microsecond were achieved. A thermodynamic model was developed based on the cantilevers geometry and material properties, and the model was shown to predict device behavior accurately. A comprehensive understanding of cantilever functionality enabled us to optimize the cantilever for high-speed thermomechanical recording.