Microfabricated torsion levers optimized for low force and high-frequency operation in fluids

Arthur Beyder, Frederick Sachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We developed a mass production fabrication process for making symmetrically supported torsion cantilevers/oscillators with highly compliant springs. These torsion probes offer advantages in atomic force microscopy (AFM) because they are small, have high optical gain, do not warp and can be made with two independent axes. Compared to traditional AFM cantilevers, these probes have higher frequency response, higher Q, lower noise, better optics (since the mirror does not bend) and two data channels. Soft small levers with sub-pN force resolution can resonate cleanly above 10 kHz in water. When fabricated with a ferromagnetic coating on the rigid reflecting pad, they can be driven magnetically or serve as high-resolution magnetometers. Asymmetric levers can be tapping mode probes or high-resolution accelerometers. The dual axis gimbaled probes with two orthogonal axes can operate on a standard AFM with single beam illumination. These probes can be used as self-referencing, drift free, cantilevers where one axis senses the substrate position and the other the sample position. These levers can be optimized for differential contrast or high-resolution friction imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-846
Number of pages9
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Atomic force microscopes
  • Force
  • Friction
  • Friction force microscopes
  • Magnetic force microscopes
  • Microfabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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