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The History of NANOSENSORS™ Probes for Atomic Force Microscopy

The History of NANOSENSORS™ Probes for Atomic Force Microscopy

In 1981 Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer from the IBM research labs in Zurich developed a new kind of microscope, the so called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). From the STM a family of new microscopes evolved: the most popular until today is the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), developed by Gerd Binning, Calvin Quate and Chritoph Gerber in 1986. One of the major parts of the Atomic Force Microscope is the AFM probe: An extremely sharp (Nanometer sized) tip mounted at the end of a cantilever is scanned in lines across a surface, detecting surface metrology and properties down to the atomic level.

In 1990 at IBM Sindelfingen Dr. Olaf Wolter fabricated the first ever batch fabricated AFM probes: the Wolter tips. In 1991 Dr. Wolter founded a company to fulfill the growing needs of the AFM comunity: NANOSENSORS™. The enhancement of the Wolter tips became popular under the name PointProbe. The PointProbe is the most versatile AFM probe world-wide and the standard in AFM tips since 1993.

With the improvement of the AFM many new measurement modes evolved: Especially tailored tips for Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM, 1995), hardend tips (Diamond, 1999), conductive AFM (conductive Diamond tips, 1999), high resolution measurements (SuperSharp Silicon, 1997), measurements of sub-micron features in semiconductor manufacturing (High Aspect Ratio Tip, 1998 and tilt compensated High Aspect Ratio Tips, 2000), AFM probes with visible tips when mounted into the AFM (Advanced TEC, 2003), self-actuating self-sensing AFM probe (Akiyama Probe, 2008), wear resistant and high resolution conductive AFM probes (PtSi, 2011) and soft cantilevers with outstanding uniformity in force constants for biological and lifescience applications (Unique Probes, 2013) were firstly developed by NANOSENSORS™.

NANOSENSORS™ continues to monitor the changing needs of the AFM community and will design and build the probes that you tell us are needed. Look to us to fulfill those needs. We are looking foward to working with you now and in the future.