Geometric characterization of carbon nanotubes by atomic force microscopy in conjunction with a tip characterizer

Chunmei Wang*, Hiroshi Itoh, Yoshikazu Homma, Jielin Sun, Jun Hu, Shingo Ichimura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


An atomic force microscopy (AFM) probe tip characterizer with 14 line and space structures and two knife edges was fabricated by means of a superlattice technique. The shape of a probe tip both before and after AFM imaging was acquired by this tip characterizer with general variations <1.5nm; depending on imaging conditions. The geometric structures of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a SiO2 substrate were studied by dynamic mode AFM in conjunction with this tip characterizer. Contact points between the tip and the CNTs were detected by observing changes in the AFM phase images. A modified CNT width correction model was established to calculate the estimated and upper-limit widths of two CNTs. The experimental results showed that imaging under a weak attractive force was suitable for obtaining accurate CNT height measurements, whereas a weak repulsive force provided the most accurate widths. Differing heights and widths between the two CNTs suggested that one CNT was double-walled, whereas the other had more than two walls; these results agree with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements of the CNTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6128-6133
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese journal of applied physics
Issue number7 PART 3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 18
Externally publishedYes


  • AFM
  • CNT
  • Contact point
  • Tip characterizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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