Scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) are able to form high-resolution images of nanoscale surfaces and structures using a physical probe instead of an optical lens. The technology was invented in the 1980s and while its impressive resolution make it highly useful for science and industry, it is still considered as complex and costly.
Researchers including Cluster researcher Mareike Trappen and Cluster PI Prof. Dr. Christian Koos just published a paper in Small that proposes a way to fabricate ultra-compact SPM engines by multiphoton laser lithography.
By printing the SPM engines onto the facets of optical devices, the engines can be "operated by optical actuation and read‐out without manual alignment of individual components". This leads to "unprecedented versatility and functional design freedom". The authors propose that "[their] concept may pave the path toward advanced SPM systems [which] may unlock a wide range of scientific and industrial applications that are inaccessible to current SPM concepts."
This research aligns with Research Thrust C1: 3D Hybrid Electronic and Photonic Systems as it explores an avenue of using 3D printing technology to create novel 3D photonic-electronic systems for sensing.
Philipp‐Immanuel Dietrich, Gerald Göring, Mareike Trappen, Matthias Blaicher, Wolfgang Freude, Thomas Schimmel, Hendrik Hölscher and Christian Koos: 3D‐Printed Scanning‐Probe Microscopes with Integrated Optical Actuation and Read‐Out. Small 2019, 1904695. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201904695.