Single Crystal Diamond (SCD)

Diamond Tips on Silicon Cantilevers

The Single Crystal Diamond (SCD) probes have tips specially grown in a CVD process and glued to silicon cantilevers for use in AFM. These durable and chemically inert probes with high aspect ratio and small tip radius are now offered at an affordable price comparable to that of traditional silicon probes. SCD tips usually has a sharp edge at the apex which makes it applicable for imaging flat surfaces with high resolution.

The typical SCD tip radius is less than that of silicon AFM tip, which makes it applicable for general purpose AFM imaging. The advantage of SCD is that the tip is extremelly robust in any scanning mode and cleanable from contaminants.

Still the diamond tip has a sharp edge et the very end, which is very useful for scanning atomically or molecular flat surfaces with high resolution. You can also benefit from the high aspect ratio of the diamond tip to explore the topography of corrugated samples or to reach the bottom of the pores.

The diamond tip can induce plastic deformation on almost any surface, including polymers, metals and other crystals, making lithography, nanoindention and scratching experiments accessible and easy on your AFM.


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Resonant Frequency kHz
Force Constant Nm
± 10μm
± 5μm
± 0.5μm
D10460 50 2 8.5 10 15 0.05 0.15 0.3
D80230 40 4 60 80 90 2 3.5 5.5
D160125 35 2 110 160 220 1.8 5 12.5
D300125 35 4 265 300 400 20 40 75

Cantilever Specifications
Material  Silicon etched
Cantilever Geometry  Rectangular (diving-board)
Number of Cantilevers 1
Back Side Coating Aluminum
Tip Specifications
Tip Material Single Crystal Diamond (SCD)
Tip Curvature Radius 5 – 10 nm
Tip Aspect Ratio* about 5:1
Tip Cone Angle* about 10°
SCD orientation <100> along the tip axis
Glue type Non-conducting
Glue temperature stability 70°C (160°F)

*When measured at least on the last 200 nm of the tip end.

General Information
  • The chip holder size is 1.6 mm x 3.4 mm x 0.4 mm.
  • The glue used to attach the tip to the cantilever is not conducting, so the probe is not applicable for conductive AFM measurements. Values for resonant frequencies and spring constants are typical.
  • After glueing, each tip passes quality control on SEM before packaging.

Product Details

Diamond Tips for AFM

Diamond is very attractive as tip material for scanning probe microscopy because of its hardness, chemical stability and resistance to wear. But these benefits are impaled when using molding and coating techniques to produce diamond tips, because traditional silicon-etched probes provide better tip aspect ratio and sharpness.

SCD probes are as sharp as usual silicon probes, providing the same resolution in routine imaging. Topography scans of rubber Teflon sample made using SCD probe are presented above, exhibiting the same quality as silicon probes in this range of scan dimensions.

SCD tips are remarkable for their long life in contact or dynamic AFM regimes. The tip is quite robust and forgives operation mistakes, which is not usual for silicon. Still SCD tip is sharp to provide high resolution imaging on DNA or lamellar structures easily.


  • Long life and forgiving operation mistakes in tapping and contact modes while providing high resolution
  • Good for imaging high aspect ratio features on surface
  • Good for mechanical measurements on hard surfaces
  • Good for nanoindentation, scratching, force lithography1

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Scan size 2×2 µm, height 50 nm

Scan size 625×625 nm, height 20 nm

Scan size 400×400 nm, height 10 nm

AFM topography of rubber Teflon sample images made using SCD probe tips (click to enlarge). Courtesy of Sergei Magonov. Agilent Technologies (2008).

1. A. Temiryazev. Pulse force nanolithography on hard surfaces using atomic force microscopy with a sharp single-crystal diamond tip. arXiv:1312.0796 [cond-mat.mes-hall]

Additional Information

Probes are packaged by 5 per container.
All in-stock items ship within 24 hours.
Standard Ground, 2-Day, Next Day options available.
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