Scanning thermal microscopy using nanofabricated probes
Novel atomic force microscope (AFM) probes with integrated thin film thermal sensors are presented. Silicon micromachining and high resolution electron beam lithography (EBL) have been used to make batch fabricated, functionalised AFM probes. The AFM tips, situated at the ends of Si3N4 cantilevers, are shaped either as truncated pyramids or sharp triangular asperites. The former gives good thermalisation of the sensor to the specimen for flat specimens whereas the latter gives improved access to highly topographic specimens. Tip radii for the different probes are 1 m and 50 nm respectively. A variety of metal structures have been deposited on the tips using EBL and lift-off to form Au/Pd thermocouples and Pd resistance thermometer/heaters. Sensor dimensions down to 35 nm have been demonstrated. In the case of the sharp triangular tips, holes were etched into parts of the cantilever in order to provide self alignment of the sensor to the tip. On the pyramidal tips it has been shown that multiple sensors can be made on a single tip with good definition and matching between sensors. A conventional AFM was constructed in order to test the micromachined thermal probes. During scans of a photothermal test specimen using improved access thermocouple probes, 80 nm period metal gratings were thermally resolved. This is equivalent to a thermal lateral resolution of 40 nm. Pyramidal tips with a resistance thermometer/heater, which were made for the microscopy and analysis of polymers, have been showed by others to produce high resolution thermal conductivity images. The probes have also been shown to be capable of locally heating a polymer specimen and thermomechanically measuring phase changes in small volumes of material. Also presented here is a study of scanning thermal microscopy of semiconductor structures using a commercial AFM. Included are scans of several specimens using both commercial andthe new micromachined probes. Subsurface images of voids buried under a SiO2 passivation layer were taken. It is shown that contrast caused by thermal conductivity differences in the specimen may be detected at a depth of over 200 nm.