Electrical, thermal, and mechanical characterization of silicon microcantilever heaters

Jungchul Lee, Thomas Beechem, Tanya L. Wright, Brent A. Nelson, Samuel Graham, William P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Silicon atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers having integrated solid-state heaters were originally developed for application to data storage, but have since been applied to metrology, thermophysical property measurements, and nanoscale manufacturing. These applications beyond data storage have strict requirements for mechanical characterization and precise temperature calibration of the cantilever. This paper describes detailed mechanical, electrical, and thermal characterization and calibration of AFM cantilevers having integrated solid-state heaters. Analysis of the cantilever response to electrical excitation in both time and frequency domains aids in resolving heat transfer mechanisms in the cantilever. Raman spectroscopy provides local temperature measurement along the cantilever with resolution near 1 μm and 5°C and also provides local surface stress measurements. Observation of the cantilever mechanical thermal noise spectrum at room temperature and while heated provides insight into cantilever mechanical behavior and compares well with finite-element analysis. The characterization and calibration methodology reported here expands the use of heated AFM cantilevers, particularly the uses for nanomanufacturing and sensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1644-1655
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Heated cantilever
  • Measurement
  • Microactuators
  • Microelectromechanical devices
  • Microsensors
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Stress
  • Temperature calibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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