Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical

VLSI-NEMS chip for parallel AFM data storage

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We report the microfabrication of a 32×32 (1024) 2D cantilever array chip and its electrical testing. It has been designed for ultrahigh-density, high-speed data storage applications using thermomechanical writing and readout in thin polymer film storage media. The fabricated chip is the first very large scale integration (VLSI)-NEMS (NanoEMS) for nanotechnological applications. For electrical and thermal stability, the levers are made of silicon, and the heater/sensor element is defined as a lower, doped platform with the tip on top. Freestanding cantilevers are obtained with surface-micromachining techniques, which yield better mechanical stability and heatsinking of the chip than bulk-micromachining releasing techniques do. Two-wiring levels interconnect the cantilevers for a time-multiplexed row/column addressing scheme. By integrating a Schottky diode in series with each cantilever, a considerable reduction of crosstalk between cantilevers has been achieved.