We report on a focused-ion-beam fabrication of a metal-tip cantilever for noncontact atomic force microscopy (AFM) and demonstrate its superior performance by observing atomically resolved AFM images of the Si (111) 7×7 surface. Characterization of the tip apex by transmission electron microscope revealed that the tip radius is less than 5 nm. Detrimental changes in the resonance frequency and the Q factor of the cantilever due to the attachment of the metal tip are small and do not affect the performance of the AFM imaging. Since the fabrication technique is applicable to any materials, various functional probes can be developed with this method.
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