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Development of a Scanning Surface Probe for Nanoscale Tip-enhanced Desorption/ablation

by Kent A Meyer, Olga S Ovchinnikova, Kin Ng, Douglas E Goeringer
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Journal Name
Review of Scientific Instruments
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We report on the development of a versatile scanning apparatus for nanoscale surface sampling that uses near-field enhancement of laser radiation at a sharp probe tip to effect desorption/ablation on opaque substrates. The process, which currently yields surface craters as small as ~ 50 nm diameter x 5 nm deep, has been demonstrated with both metal-coated and bare silicon tips. Significantly, either a tip field enhancement or a thermal factor results in near-field desorption/ablation at illumination intensities far below the corresponding far-field threshold, suggesting that the latter process should not degrade the spatial resolution attainable for proposed chemical imaging methods based on the scanning surface probe.