STTR Phase I: Diamond Nanoprobes for Atomic Force Microscopy - Imaging, Metrology, Material Property Measurement, Process Control, and Manipulation with Ultrahigh Performance

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Advanced Diamond Tech.
429 B Weber Road, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE, Romeoville, IL, 60446
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
John Carlisle
(630) 400-3431
Business Contact:
Neil Kane
(217) 239-1963
Research Institution:
Univ of Wisconsin Madison
Robert W Carpick
1550 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI, 53704 1330
(608) 263-4891
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will develop commercially viable atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers with ultra-sharp, ultra-robust tips fabricated from ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD). AFM is becoming indispensable in several industries for imaging, metrology, material property measurement, process control, and manipulation. These applications are reaching limits, and new applications are being prevented, due to the lack of reliability and versatility of the AFM tip. The intellectual merit of this work will be to address this by demonstrating the feasibility of a new generation of AFM probes that are highly versatile, nearly indestructible, chemically and electronically tunable, biologically functionalizable, and exquisitely stable. This will be accomplished by creating probes based on diamond, the hardest, stiffest material known. These probes will be molded and microfabricatedfrom UNCD, a nanocrystalline thin film (<5 nm pure diamond grains) with mechanicalproperties nearly equivalent to single crystal diamond. Advanced Diamond Technologies, the exclusive commercialization venue for UNCD products, will partner with the Carpick group (UW-Madison), who are world leaders in AFM. The volume of world sales of conventional AFM probes is approximately $60,000,000 with a growth rate of 10 to15%. Accessing and increasing this market by enabling new scientific and industrial applications are anticipated outcomes. Commercially, the results of this work will be: (a) to enable new industrial applications for AFM, including high-throughput imaging, metrology, and characterization of large quantities of materials including massive sets of combinatorially synthesized materials, local electrical characterization for process control in micro/nanoelectronics, nanomechanical characterization of MEMS/NEMS devices, ultraprecise hard mask correction for the micro/nanolithography industry, AFM-based direct-write nanolithography, and massively-parallel AFM-based arrays for nanomechanical data storage at ultrahigh density; (b) to enable new scientific applications, including magnetic resonance force microscopy, harsh environment and high temperature scanning probe microscopy, and advanced nanotribology experiments and nanomechanics experiments and ; (c) to open up a broad array of new applications that take advantage of the advancement of molded diamond structures, including field emitter tip arrays, photonic crystals, and NEMS.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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