HS-AFM techniques have achieved a significantly improved temporal resolution, thus enabling both static and dynamic characterizations of the deposit. The increased imaging speed not only improves throughput but also allows for the first time the observation of evolving dynamics of the printed structures just after depositing.
Three-dimensional (3D) nanoprinting, a class of nanoscale additive manufacturing techniques, is attracting increasing interest. Achieving high fidelity multilayer material deposition has become one of the major challenges in focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) technology.
The slow image acquisition speed of AFMs in general, and in vacuum in particular, requires further efforts to achieve real combination of in situ measurement and nanofabrication.
In its new paper, the team demonstrates that it can achieve high fidelity in situ characterizations of a multistep focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) process by integrating their HS-AFM into the dual beam microscope.
This combination will enable the spatial information about the just deposited nanostructure to be directly used in controlling the FEBID process parameters for the following layers.
As a proof-of-concept test, the researchers achieved slice by slice additive tomography was achieved via in situ probing the growth of a nanostructure miniature Matterhorn replica.
Furthermore, by coordinating operations of HS-AFM and FEBID, the team could shed light on evolving physical properties (such as mechanical stability) that happen at short time scales post deposition.
"We believe that this in situ and online monitoring approach will ramp up the thorough understanding of FEBID parameters and thus enable highly reliable fabrication of nanostructures with strict morphological requirements," the authors conclude their report.