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This article describes microprobes for noncontact scanning force microscopy that make use of a direct-oscillating thermally driven bimorph actuator with integrated piezoresistive readout sensor. The sensitivity has been increased using direct current for biasing and alternating current for exciting the thermally driven cantilever in a higher flexural mode. The cantilever operates in the phase-shift atomic force microscopy (AFM) detection technique. The main advantage of phase imaging is the higher z resolution at high scan rates and much lower forces than in height imaging with contact AFM. Critical dimensions measurements illustrating the imaging capability and resolution of our new scanning proximal probe are demonstrated. © 2003 American Vacuum Society.