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Design and Characterization of Scanning Probe Microscopy Platform with Active Electro-Thermal Microcantilever for Multifunctional Applications
AuthorRiddle, Robert Oren
AdvisorLeang, Kam K.
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The goal of this thesis is create a scanning probe microscopy (SPM) platform for multifunctional probe-based applications, such as interrogation, manipulation, and fabrication of objects and matter at the micro to nano-scale. The SPM platform uses a newly designed and fabricated electro-thermo-mechanical (ETM) cantilever with a microgripper at its distal end designed for automated pickup and release of tool tips. This unique platform will help address the critical issues of throughput, repeatability, scalability, and limited functionality of probe-based applications including multi-process nanofabrication. The design, fabrication, and characterization of the custom-made atomic force microscopy (AFM) system, a type of SPM, and the ETM microgripper for multifunctional probe-based applications are presented. The finite element method is used to design the first two vibration modes of the ETM microgripper to align with traditional AFM cantilevers. An electro-thermo-mechanical model is used to predict the response of the ETM microgripper. The custom-made AFM system and ETM microgripper are characterized, where experimental results demonstrate the imaging capabilities of the AFM system and the microgripper's ability for controlled grasping of micro-sized objects. Specifically, the AFM system resonances at 768 Hz, 535 Hz, and 35 kHz in the x, y, and z axis, respectively. The microgripper can open 6.4 microns with 10 volts input, and the measured first mechanical resonance is 36.8 kHz. Performance and design challenges are also discussed. The results and outcomes of this thesis lay the foundation for future work in multifunctional probe based applications which include handheld replicators for nano rapid prototyping of nanoelectronics and NEMS, printing and nanomachining of unique hybrid organic and inorganic material, 3-D nanofabrication and assembly, and complete desktopnanofactories.