AFM-IR Enables Critically Needed Chemical Metrology for Nanomanufacturing

(Nanowerk News) Anasys Instruments reports on joint research with the University of Illinois' Department of Engineering where nanotechnology-based materials identification enables critically needed chemical metrology for nano-manufacturing.
One of the key achievements of the nanotechnology era is the development of manufacturing technologies that can fabricate nanostructures formed from multiple materials. Such nanometer-scale integration of composite materials has enabled innovations in electronic devices, solar cells, and medical diagnostics.
While there have been significant breakthroughs in nano-manufacturing, there has been much less progress on the metrology of nanostructures made from multiple integrated materials. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Anasys Instruments Inc. now report new diagnostic tools that can support cutting-edge nano-manufacturing.
"We have used atomic force microscope-based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) to characterize polymer nanostructures and systems of integrated polymer nanostructures," said William King, the College of Engineering Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "In this research, we have been able to chemically analyze polymer lines as small as 100 nm. We can also clearly distinguish different nanopatterned polymers using their infrared absorption spectra as obtained by the AFM-IR technique."
Schematic to illustrate AFM-IR to study polymer nanostructures
Schematic to illustrate AFM-IR to study polymer nanostructures.
In AFM-IR, a rapidly pulsed infrared (IR) laser is directed on upon a thin sample which absorbs the IR light and undergoes rapid thermomechanical expansion. An AFM tip in contact with the polymer nanostructure resonates in response to the expansion, and this resonance is measured by the AFM. (see schematic below).
"While nanotechnologists have long been interested in the manufacturing of integrated nanostructures, they have been limited by the lack of tools that can identify material composition at the nanometer scale."" said Craig Prater, co-author on the study and Chief Technology Officer of Anasys Instruments Inc. "The AFM-IR technique offers the unique capability to simultaneously map the morphology and perform chemical analysis at the nanoscale."
The paper is titled "Nanometer-Scale Infrared Spectroscopy of Heterogeneous Polymer Nanostructures Fabricated by Tip-Based Nanofabrication". The authors are Jonathan Felts and William King of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Kevin Kjoller, Michael Lo, and Craig Prater of Anasys Instruments Inc.
About Anasys Instruments
Anasys Instruments is dedicated to delivering innovative products and solutions that analyze samples with spatially varying physical and chemical properties at the micro and nanoscale. Anasys Instruments introduced the nanoTA in 2006 which pioneered the field of nanoscale thermal property measurement. In 2010, Anasys Instruments proudly introduced the award-winning breakthrough nanoIR™ Platform which pioneered the field of nanoscale IR measurement. For further details, please visit
Source: Anasys (press release)
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