Abstract

Atomic force probing (AFP) uses very sharp tungsten tips (100nm in radius) which wear out rather quickly, even with the greater durability of tungsten as compared to silicon. This paper demonstrates how worn tips that no longer image and probe properly can be reconditioned using the focus ion beam (FIB) tool. The method works best for tips that are under approx. 750nm in diameter and are not bent. It works well for freshly manufactured tips that do not work properly due to mishandling or improper storage which allowed particulates/oxide to build up on the tip. The method also works well for fresh tips that have been worn down (or slightly bent) after several hours of scanning and probing. This method is straightforward and requires a minimal amount of time. Typically, four probe tips can be reconditioned in about 30 minutes on the FIB.

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