Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) has become an essential surface characterization technique in research and development. By concept, SPM performance crucially depends on the quality of the nano-probe element, in particular, the apex radius. Now, with the development of advanced SPM modes beyond morphology mapping, new challenges have emerged regarding the design, morphology, function, and reliability of nano-probes. To tackle these challenges, versatile fabrication methods for precise nano-fabrication are needed. Aside from well-established technologies for SPM nano-probe fabrication, focused electron beam-induced deposition (FEBID) has become increasingly relevant in recent years, with the demonstration of controlled 3D nanoscale deposition and tailored deposit chemistry. Moreover, FEBID is compatible with practically any given surface morphology. In this review article, we introduce the technology, with a focus on the most relevant demands (shapes, feature size, materials and functionalities, substrate demands, and scalability), discuss the opportunities and challenges, and rationalize how those can be useful for advanced SPM applications. As will be shown, FEBID is an ideal tool for fabrication/modification and rapid prototyping of SPM-tipswith the potential to scale up industrially relevant manufacturing.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited