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Whisker on SNOM probe

Whisker on SNOM probe

Whisker on SNOM probe


We would like to announce new designed product offered by TipsNano - sharp carbon whiskers grown onto apertured near-field optical fiber probes.

    SNOM fiber probe with Al coating and aperture 100nm.       

SNOM PROBES- fiber probes with the formed aperture on the very tip end are specially designed for Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy. This method is used for investigating nanostructures at sub-wavelength scale.

Probes are produced from standard single-mode Nufern fibers by the method of chemical etching that provides better optical efficiency in comparison with mechanical pulling.

Probes perform all current modes of SNOM operation - transmission, reflection and collection.     

5 probe types with different transmitted wavelength from 400nm till 1600nm are available for ordering from TipsNano. SNOM probes are possible to be modified with the tuning forks glued to the fiber as an option. Separate tuning forks are also available for further probe modification.

At customers' request each SNOM probe can be supplied with SEM photo of the tip end with aperture.


WHISKER PROBE is an indispensable instrument for studying surfaces with narrow gaps and deep holes: Standard cantilevers fail to investigate such objects with the necessary precision because of shape limitation. Whisker probes differ from the standard ones by having long high aspect ratio carbon “whisker” at the very end of the silicon tip. It is possible “whisker” to be grown at any angle to the silicon tip axis for being perpendicular to the investigated surface. It helps to reach the bottom of the holes and control the vertical sidewalls.    

New product - Whiskers grown on SNOM probes - is a successful desicion for both SNOM and AFM measurments.  

The radius of curvature of the whisker apex is approximately 10 nm while its total length is around 100 nm. These parameters fulfill the requirements of aperture SNOM probes - to keep the distance between the sample and the optical aperture during the scanning at subwavelength scale. Furthermore, due to the intrinsic properties of the amorphous carbon whisker, the probes are durable.

    Whisker on SNOM_ar.jpg  

SNOM fiber probes with grown whiskers can be mounted on tuning-forks. It ensures a high quality factor of the sensor in the range 2000-5500, which enables to cope with the large stiffness of the tuning-fork actuator and obtain a characteristic noise-limited sensitivity smaller than 10pN necessary to image soft biological samples without destroying them.

To illustrate the sensor’s performances, transmission near-field optical images as well as high-resolution state-of-the-art topographic images of single DNA molecules are presented.



Left: Shear-force topographical image of DNA recorded in constant amplitude mode. Scan speed 300nm/second.
Image size 1.2 x 1.2μm.
Right: Shear-force topographical image of DNA recorded in phase shift mode. Scan speed
500nm/second. Image size 1.5 x 1.5μm. Inset: profile of the DNA, width at half maximum smaller than 25nm, typical
DNA height is 1.3nm.
Material is taken from the article "Ultrasharp carbon whisker optical fiber probes for scanning near-field optical microscopy"
(Mounir Mensi, Gennadii Mikhailov, Sergey Pyatkin, Jozef Adamcik, Sergey Sekatskii, Giovanni Dietler).

So, sharp carbon whisker tips grown onto tapered, metal-coated, apertured optical fiber probes allows to receive a very high topographic spatial resolution of different samples. Subwavelength near-field optical resolution was obtained with these new probes, thus proving their utility for the near-field optics.

New developments always open new possibilities. We hope this product will help to find the right decision for your researches.

If you have any questions about SNOM probes or other TipsNano products, please, contact us:



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