Scanning probe microscopy is a collection of tools and associated techniques to visualize and manipulate matter at the nanometer scale. The scanning tunneling microscope (STM), which was invented at IBM Research - Zurich and awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986, is widely recognized as the enabling tool for nanotechnology. The atomic force microscope (AFM) and its variants are commonly used tools for nanoscale surface interrogation and modification.
This project focuses on the development of key technology regarding the application of scanning probes on archival data storage, as well as advanced semiconductor device metrology. In particular, we aim to develop techniques for enhancing the reliability and lifetime, and for increasing the throughput of probes to address archival storage requirements. Furthermore, we explore ways to leverage their ultrahigh spatial resolution, nondestructive imaging capability, and ability to sense device properties such as topography, capacitance, resistance and thermal conductance for device dimension characterization and failure mapping in semiconductor metrology.