Skip to Main Content
Your organization might have access to this article on the publisher's site. To check, click on this link:http://dx.doi.org/+10.1063/1.2980281
Iron-filled carbon nanotubes (Fe-CNTs) were used to prepare probes for magnetic force microscopy (MFM) by attaching them to the tips of conventional atomic force microscopy cantilevers. An optimized chemical vapor deposition process, employing a two stage furnace and ferrocene as a precursor, supplied the homogeneously filled Fe-CNTs required for the MFM probes. These can be regarded as cylindrically shaped single-domain nanomagnets that are protected from oxidation by a carbon shell. Carbon nanotubes are known to possess both great mechanical stability and elasticity, which lead to a much longer lifetime of these probes compared to conventional magnetically coated probes. It is shown that the prepared probes are suitable for magnetic imaging and so far show no sign of deterioration. Even very long nanotubes can be used as probes, which implies that they are extraordinarily stiff. It is also shown that attached Fe-CNTs can subsequently be tailored by electron-beam induced oxidation (e.g., to remove disturbing empty carbon shell parts) to better fit the requirements of an MFM tip.