Review Article: Active scanning probes: a versatile toolkit for fast imaging and emerging nanofabrication
With the recent advances in the field of nanotechnology, measurement and manipulation requirements at the nanoscale have become more stringent than ever before. In atomic force microscopy, high-speed performance alone is not sufficient without considerations of other aspects of the measurement task, such as the feature aspect ratio, required range, or acceptable probe-sample interaction forces. In this paper, the authors discuss these requirements and the research directions that provide the highest potential in meeting them. The authors elaborate on the efforts toward the downsizing of self-sensed and self-actuated probes as well as on upscaling by active cantilever arrays. The authors present the fabrication process of active probes along with the tip customizations carried out targeting specific application fields. As promising application in scope of nanofabrication, field emission scanning probe lithography is introduced. The authors further discuss their control and design approach. Here, microactuators, e.g., multilayer microcantilevers, and macroactuators, e.g., flexure scanners, are combined in order to simultaneously meet both the range and speed requirements of a new generation of scanning probe microscopes.