Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures

Design and performance analysis of a three-dimensional sample translation device used in ultrahigh vacuum scanned probe microscopy

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For micropatterned or technological samples and to achieve overlap with lower magnification microscopic techniques, there is a demand for high-resolution imaging capabilities in combination with reproducible sample translation. Degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio and piezo nonlinearities limit the maximum scan range, resolution and, in particular, the linearity of piezo scanners. To overcome these problems, we have designed and operated a compact three-dimensional inertially driven translation device for scanning probe microscopy techniques. We demonstrate the operation of the device, which can access a volume of 2 cm3 in three-dimensional space and permits imaging with atomic resolution. Reproducibility of step size is analyzed in detail. The importance of selected material pairing of the sliding components is discussed for ultrahigh vacuum operation. © 1996 American Vacuum Society.