Modeling and simulation of the interface temperature between a heated silicon tip and a substrate

Brent A. Nelson, William P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This article presents an analytical model and finite difference simulations that predict the interface temperature between a heated atomic force microscope (AFM) tip and a substrate. The thermal resistances for the tip, interfacial contact between the tip and substrate, and spreading into the substrate are all considered. The thermal properties and geometry of the tip closest to the apex govern heat transport through the entire tip. The models thus r uire boundary-constricted thermal conductivity in the tip and a separate thermal resistance to account for the geometry at the tip apex. The tip-substrate interface temperature depends upon the contact impedance, contact force, and ambient environment thermal conductivity. For a silicon tip, the combined thermal resistance of the substrate and contact is on the order of 107-108 K/W and dominates the heat transfer. The model identifies dimensionless parameters that govern the tip-substrate interface temperature, which can inform cantilever design and application development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-115
Number of pages18
JournalNanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Atomic force microscope
  • Boundary scattering
  • Point contact
  • Thermal resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling and simulation of the interface temperature between a heated silicon tip and a substrate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this