Schematic and SEM image of Next-Tip nano IR probes

In the last few decades, the development of semiconductor processing technology has been trending towards the fabrication of devices with ever smaller nanoscale domains, which is directly correlated with the need for size and location characterization as well as material-specific identification with high spatial resolution. Furthermore, some current challenges in the semiconductors field, such as the detection of possible material defects or contamination, need to be solved.

A key tool for nanotechnology research in semiconductors and other realms is Atomic Force
Microscope (AFM). AFM-based techniques, such as TERS, s-SNOM or nano-FTIR, allow for the chemical identification of samples with a spatial resolution beyond the diffraction limit.

However, the use of a suitable AFM probe is crucial as it may limit the measurements due to a low
sharpness (leading to an insufficient spatial resolution) or a lack or loss of metallic coating while measuring (resulting in a low or non-existent nanospectrocopic sensitivity), to name just a few. When it comes to infrared spectroscopies, the metallic coating is essential: it highly determines the spectroscopic sensitivity, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and the spatial resolution.

New Morphology at the Tips Creates New Opportunities The Next-Tip Nano-IR probes provide x5 higher IR signal, a higher SNR and an extremely high spatial resolution. This is possible thanks to
their special coating with metallic nanoparticles that provides the probes with a new morphology, as it is shown in the SEM image. Also, the presence of branch-shaped nanostructures on the lateral faces of the tip results in an increased roughness. This feature leads to a longer lifetime of probes and a remarkably high spatial resolution: up to 3 nm!

Our tips can be used in NEASPEC, BRUKER (Anasys) and Molecular Vista Systems.