NSOM Tip sharpening

NSOM (aka SNOM) probe tips for the Nanonics NSOM are expensive and they're very easy to break even when significant care is be used.  These tips not only serve as the method to couple in light on the nanoscale but also as AFM probes.  It's very important that they are sharp and have only a small aperture at their end through which light can couple.

UPenn has a Focused Ion Beam tool.  I wanted to use this tool to resharpen the tip of broken NSOM probes.  I did this by planning out a series of cuts utilizing SolidWorks.  SolidWorks made it easy to imagine the extruded cuts that would be required at various angles in 3D space and computing what raster shape should be used as a cutting profile from each one of these angles. 

 Broken NSOM Probe

Broken NSOM Probe

 Tip Sharpening Plan

Tip Sharpening Plan

 Resharpened NSOM tip

Resharpened NSOM tip

At the end of the day, it was more judicious to just buy more NSOM probes.  They're expensive, but so is FIB time.  However, it was an interesting little adventure regardless.