Development of a metrological scanning probe microscope as a primary standard for nanoscale dimensional measurement

B. Babic, C. Freund, M.B. Gray, J. Herrmann, M.T.L. Hsu, M. Lawn, T.G. McRae
National Measurement Institute Australia, AU

Keywords: scanning probe microscope, nanoscale, dimensional measurements, traceability, interferometry


The capability for accurate dimensional measurement at the nanoscale, traceable to the SI meter, is fundamental for the development and effective support of nanoscience and nanotechnology. At the National Measurement Institute Australia (NMIA), the primary standard for dimensional measurement at the nanoscale is being realized with a metrological scanning probe microscope (mSPM). Traceability of dimensional measurements with the mSPM is achieved by laser interferometry, with the laser wavelength linked to NMIA’s realization of the SI definition of the meter. Here, we present design considerations for the mSPM, highlighting its metrological aspects and operational results. The design of the mSPM follows metrological principles to achieve accurate position measurement, over an addressable measurement volume of 100 µm × 100 µm × 25 µm, with a target combined uncertainty of 1 nm. It minimizes uncertainty contributions from deformation of the frame, alignment errors and effects of environmental fluctuations. The primary application of the mSPM is to calibrate transfer standard artifacts, thereby providing traceability to the SI meter for nanoscale dimensional measurements made with instruments such as SPMs and electron microscopes. In addition, it provides a measurement capability for traceable dimensional measurements of nanomaterials such as nanoparticles.