AFM uplevels from cantilever to ring probe
Categorie(s) : News, Research
Published : 6 April 2020
Until recently, it was widely considered that the atomic force microscope (AFM) had hit a ceiling in terms of resolution. Researchers from Leti, CNRS, and Vmicro changed that with a new type of resonator. The conventional vibrating-cantilever-style probe, which tops out at around 1 MHz, has been replaced by a micrometric optically-excited silicon ring that vibrates at frequencies a hundred times that. The probe is so sensitive, in fact, that it can detect its own Brownian motion of around a tenth of a femtometer.
It could now be possible, for example, to observe sub-microsecond biological phenomena at the scale of a single molecule rather than averaging the signals of multiple molecules. Leti will implement the probe on an AFM at Laas in Toulouse. A patent has been filed to protect this innovation.