Researchers make diamond nano-tip thermal processing

Researchers make diamond nano-tip for thermal processing

11:05 AM, 17th November 2012
Researchers make diamond nano-tip for thermal processing
Diamond nano-tip integrated onto the micro-heater of a doped silicon microcantilever. The tip has a radius of 10 nm.

ILLINOIS, US: One of the most promising innovations of nanotechnology has been the ability to perform rapid nanofabrication using nanometre-scale tips. The fabrication speed can be dramatically increased by using heat. High speed and high temperature have been known to degrade the tip until now.

“Thermal processing is widely used in manufacturing. We have been working to shrink thermal processing to the nanometre scale, where we can use a nanometre-scale heat source to add or remove material, or induce a physical or chemical reaction,” said William King, Professor, University of Illinois.

One of the key challenges has been the reliability of the nanometre-scale tips, especially with performing nano-writing on hard, semiconductor surfaces. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, and Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc, have created a new type of nano-tip for thermal processing, which is made entirely out of diamond. “The end of the diamond tip is 10 nm in size. Not only can the tip be used for nanometre-scale thermal processing, but it is extremely resistant to wear,” explained King.

“The scan distance is equal to 100 million times the size of the tip. That’s the equivalent of a person walking around the circumference of the earth four times, and doing so with no measurable wear,” said King. 

“The robustness of these diamond-based probes under such harsh conditions, high temperatures and stresses in an oxidizing environment, is quite remarkable and exceeds anything I’ve seen with other AFM probes. This level of durability combined with the multifunctionality of a thermal probe really opens up new applications for the AFM,” said Robert Carpick, Professor, University of Pennsylvania.

“We are pleased with the results since they prove once again the superiority of diamond tips to any other types of probe tips when it comes to low wear and resistance to harsh environment,” said Nicolaie Moldovan, Scientist, Advanced Diamond Technologies.

© University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign News

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