Zeno Schumacher, Yoichi Miyahara and Peter Grütter from McGill University, Montreal together with our colleague Laure Aeschimann from NANOSENSORS™ are showing in their current publication “Improved atomic force microscopy cantilever performance by partial reflective coating” (Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 2015, 6, 1450–1456) the advantages of partial coated AFM cantilevers.
Beside the close-to-original Q-factor of partial coated cantilever a reduced low-frequency noise is the second big advantage of a partial coated cantilever. The figure is showing noise spectra of soft cantilevers with different coating coverages acquired in air. The fully coated cantilever shows the highest 1/f noise. The 1/f noise reduces with reduced coating coverage. The uncoated cantilever shows the lowest 1/f noise level. When comparing the fully coated with the uncoated cantilever a difference of an order of magnitude could be observed.
This reduced force noise will enhance the cantilever sensitivity for contact mode imaging and force spectroscopy measurements dramatically.