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Transient Tip-Sample Interactions in High-Speed AFM Imaging of 3D nano structures

Author: Keyvani Janbahan, A. · Sadeghian Marnani, H · Goosen, H. · Keulen, F. van
Publisher: SPIE
Source:Cain, J.P.Sanchez, M.I., SPIE Advanced Lithography conference on Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography XXIX, 22-26 February 2015, San Jose, California, USA, 9424
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Identifier: 524289
Keywords: Electronics · Tapping mode AFM · Tip-sample interactions · Peak repulsive Force · Hertz model · Contact stress · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Mechatronics, Mechanics & Materials · OM - Opto-Mechatronics · TS - Technical Sciences


The maximum amount of repulsive force applied to the surface plays a very important role in damage of tip or sample in Atomic Force Microscopy(AFM). So far, many investigations have focused on peak repulsive forces in tapping mode AFM in steady state conditions. However, it is known that AFM could be more damaging in transient conditions. In high-speed scanning, and in presence of 3D nano structures (such as FinFET), the changes in topography appear in time intervals shorter than the response time of the cantilever. In this case, the tip may crush into the sample by exerting much higher forces than for the same cantilever-sample distance in steady state situations.In this study the effects of steep upward steps in topography on the tip-sample interactions have been investigated, and it has been found that the order(s) of magnitude higher forces can be applied. The information on the worst case scenario obtained by this method can be used for selection of operation parameters and probe design to minimize damage in high-speed imaging. The numerically obtained results have been verified with the previous works in steady state regime. Based on this investigation the maximum safe scanning speed has been obtained for a case study.