High Resolution AFM Probes

Typical spike radius
Spike height
Total AFM tip height
AFM probe material
n-type silicon
AFM probe bulk resistivity
0.01-0.025 Ohm·cm
AFM probe coating*

*The spike is not coated!

Hi’Res-C AFM probes have a diamond-like spike on the apex of the silicon AFM tip. The sharpness of the spike determines the resolution. The high-resolution AFM probes are recommended for scanning small areas below 250nm at 512 sampling points. Lateral resolution below 1nm is attainable.

1 AFM Cantilever Series

AFM CantileverResonance Frequency, kHzForce Constant, N/m
14 series 110 160 220 1.8 5.0 13
15 series 265 325 410 20 40 80
18 series 60 75 90 1.2 2.8 5.5
19 series 25 65 120 0.05 0.5 2.3


AFM has become the tool of choice for non-destructive surface measurements with molecular and sub-molecular resolution. However, the resolution and accuracy of the technique is limited by the size and shape of the AFM tip. In order to increase resolution, it is necessary to decrease both the AFM tip size and the AFM tip-sample interaction force

The development of the line of Hi’Res-C AFM probes has overcome these obstacles and made higher resolution, sub-nanometer imaging possible. The Hi’Res AFM probes allow for more accurate measurement of extremely narrow features such as pores, trenches, and sharp edges, along with accurate measurement of sub-nanometer surface roughness.

In addition, these AFM probes are also suitable for imaging soft, fragile and near-liquid samples as the AFM tip-sample attraction force is significantly reduced due to the unsurpassed sub-nanometer AFM tip radius.

Standard silicon AFM probe in tapping mode. AFM tip radius ~10nm.
Standard silicon AFM probe in tapping mode. AFM tip radius ~10nm.
Hi’Res probe in Tapping mode. Individual molecules are resolved. Tip radius Rtip ~1nm.
Hi’Res probe in Tapping mode. Individual molecules are resolved. Tip radius Rtip ~1nm.

Routine height images of carbosilane dendrimers (9th generation) in a dense film obtained using Bruker Multimode Nanoscope IIIa AFM. Scan size 150nm. Diameter of dendrimer molecules is 9nm. Images courtesy of S.S. Sheiko (University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill) and D.A. Ivanov (Free University of Brussels). Dendrimers courtesy of A. M. Muzafarov (ISPM RAS, Moscow.)

Hi'Res-C AFM probes suffer less contamination than silicon SPM probes and allow obtaining many high-resolution scans when proper care is taken during use. Due to the small AFM tip curvature radius, the AFM tip-sample attraction force is minimized.

The advantages of the Hi'Res-C AFM probes are noticeable when scanning smaller areas (<250nm) and flat samples. On larger images, the resolution is similar to that of general purpose AFM probes. The Hi'Res-C AFM probes are not suitable for corrugated samples.