IPPT PAN started research work under the project "Manufacture of metal probes with different tip shapes for use in atomic force microscopes". The research is financed by the National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR) and the National Science Center (NCN) as part of the TANGO-3 joint program. This is the third edition of the program, whose aim is to support the commercialization of fundamental research results.

The project is carried out with two parallel tasks: a conceptual task and a research and development task. The conceptual task includes various types of marketing and business activities aimed at attracting business partners, distributors and gaining the interest of other researchers in the developed method. As well as protection of intellectual property rights in Poland and Europe. The R&D task is to carry out the last required experiments, which will allow refining the method so that it can be introduced to the market without any complications.

The project is carried out by a research team from the Department of Mechanics of Materials composed of dr inż. Dariusz Jarząbek, mgr inż. Piotr Jenczyk, mgr inż. Michał Milczarek.

The project aims to market metal probes for atomic force microscopes. Currently, such probes are not offered by any of the manufacturers, despite the fact that they have a number of advantages over silicon probes. The original method will be used, the basis of which has been developed as part of fundamental research in the project " External and internal size effects and their coupling in single crystals and nanocrystalline materials investigated with compression, tension and bending of nanopillars and nanowires. " (SONATA).

Figure 1: Ostrze pomiarowe prototypowej sondy pomiarowej wykonanej z niklu (fot. P. Jenczyk)

The developed method uses electrochemical deposition of metal and allows to make probes with different shape of the measuring tip thanks to the use of a plastic metal substrate. This allows for easier processing compared to silicon substrates used in the methods described in the literature. The processes allow for easy change of used materials. Thanks to that it will be possible to make probes from unique materials. Modifying the shape of the measuring tip and material will allow making probes better adapted to different measurement methods. The aim is to introduce innovative measuring probes for atomic force microscopes to the market at the end of the project. They will open the way to new research in the field of micro and nanotribology.

The project will last 12 months.