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 partially coated AFM cantilevers.
They coated cantilevers with coating coverages from 15 to 100% and measured low-frequency noise and Q-factors. In the graph above shows the Q-factors of NCLR cantilevers with different coating coverage percentages measured in high vacuum. A 30 nm Al coating was added to a 7 μm thick NANOSENSORS™ NCLR cantilever. Adding a complete reflective coating to the cantilever will reduce the Q-factor by half compared to the uncoated cantilevers. By minimizing the coating to 20% of the cantilever length the same Q-factor as that of the uncoated cantilever can be achieved.