Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical

5×5 2D AFM cantilever arrays a first step towards a Terabit storage device

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In this paper we report on the microfabrication of a 5×5 2D cantilever array and its successful application to parallel imaging. The 5×5 array with integrated force sensing and tip heating has been fabricated using a recently developed, all dry, silicon backside etching process. The levers on the array have integrated piezoresistive sensing, and are placed on a constriction in the lever to improve sensitivity. The array is scanned in x and y directions using voice coil actuators. Three additional voice coil z actuators are used in a triangular arrangement to approach the sample with the array chip. The system is thus leveled in the same way as an air table. We report details of the array fabrication, the x-y scanning and approach system as well as images taken with the system. The results are encouraging for the development of large-scale VLSI-Nano EMS, allowing the fabrication and operation of large AFM cantilever arrays to achieve high-data-rate Terabit storage systems.