Principles of Laser Alignment in Atomic Force Microscopy and its Potential Application for Nanoscale 3D Printing
Author: Cong Li and Kamal Youcef-Toumi
Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a well-established technique that has played a significant role in the characterization of nanoscale structures. While its applications in surface
profiling and imaging of nanomaterials are widely recognized, the potential of AFM techniques in 3D printing applications has not been fully explored. In this thesis, we present a detailed process of building a custom Atomic Force Microscope, which has been adapted to an AFM probe with microfluidic channels. The construction process involved building and aligning the optics system, testing the optics sensors, assembling the entire AFM system, creating the user interface, coding, and testing the position controllers. The developed AFM-based 3D printer has immense potential in enabling ultra-high resolution 3D printing, as well as in-situ characterization of the printed structure. In future work, the necessary components would be added to the AFM-based 3D printer to enable precise dispensing of materials through the microfluidic channels within the probe, making it possible to print structures with unprecedented precision. The potential of this technology in transforming the way nanoscale 3D printing is done cannot be overstated, and further testing and development would be required to establish its viability in practical applications.
Fig. Experimental test set up of the optical system for the AFM is shown with all
the components labeled. The coordinate system for the positioners are shown on the top
Keywords: atomic force microscopy; 3D printing; pressure controller