Applied Physics Letters

Atomic force microscope cantilevers for combined thermomechanical data writing and reading

View publication


Heat conduction governs the ultimate writing and reading capabilities of a thermomechanical data storage device. This work investigates transient heat conduction in a resistively heated atomic force microscope cantilever through measurement and simulation of cantilever thermal and electrical behavior. The time required to heat a single cantilever to bit-writing temperature is near 1 μs and the thermal data reading sensitivity ΔR/R is near 1 × 10-4 per vertical nm. Finite-difference thermal and electrical simulation results compare well with electrical measurements during writing and reading, indicating design tradeoffs in power requirements, data writing speed, and data reading sensitivity. We present a design for a proposed cantilever that is predicted to be faster and more sensitive than the present cantilever. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.