Development of a detachable high speed miniature scanning probe microscope for large area substrates inspection

Hamed Sadeghian Marnani, R. Herfst, J. Winters, W.E. Crowcombe, G. Kramer, Teun Van Den Dool, Maarten van Es

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We have developed a high speed, miniature scanning probe microscope (MSPM) integrated with a Positioning Unit (PU) for accurately positioning the MSPM on a large substrate. This combination enables simultaneous, parallel operation of many units on a large sample for high throughput measurements.
The size of the MSPM is 19 × 45 × 70 mm3 . It contains a one-dimensional flexure stage with counter-balanced actuation for vertical scanning with a bandwidth of 50 kHz and a z-travel range of more than 2 µm. This stage is mechanically decoupled from the rest of the MSPM by suspending it
on specific dynamically determined points. The motion of the probe, which is mounted on top of the flexure stage is measured by a very compact optical beam deflection (OBD). Thermal noise spectrum measurements of short cantilevers show a bandwidth of 2 MHz and a noise of less than 15 fm/Hz1/2
. A fast approach and engagement of the probe to the substrate surface have been achieved by integrating a small stepper actuator and direct monitoring of the cantilever response to the approaching surface. The PU has the same width as the MSPM, 45 mm and can position the MSPM to a pre-chosen position
within an area of 275×30 mm2 to within 100 nm accuracy within a few seconds. During scanning, the MSPM is detached from the PU which is essential to eliminate mechanical vibration and drift from the relatively low-resonance frequency and low-stiffness structure of the PU. Although the specific
implementation of the MSPM we describe here has been developed as an atomic force microscope, the general architecture is applicable to any form of SPM. This high speed MSPM is now being used in a parallel SPM architecture for inspection and metrology of large samples such as semiconductor wafers and masks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113706
Number of pages8
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • scanning probe microscopes
  • parallel processing
  • semiconductors
  • metrology
  • industrial inspection


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