Focused Electron Beam-Based 3D Nanoprinting for Scanning Probe Microscopy: A Review

Harald Plank*, Robert Winkler, Christian Schwalb, Johanna Hütner, Jason D. Fowlkes, Philip D. Rack, Michael Huth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) has become an essential surface characterization technique in research and development. By concept, SPM performance crucially depends on the quality of the nano-probe element, in particular, the apex radius. Now, with the development of advanced SPM modes beyond morphology mapping, new challenges have emerged regarding the design, morphology, function, and reliability of nano-probes. To tackle these challenges, versatile fabrication methods for precise nano-fabrication are needed. Aside from well-established technologies for SPM nano-probe fabrication, focused electron beam-induced deposition (FEBID) has become increasingly relevant in recent years, with the demonstration of controlled 3D nanoscale deposition and tailored deposit chemistry. Moreover, FEBID is compatible with practically any given surface morphology. In this review article, we introduce the technology, with a focus on the most relevant demands (shapes, feature size, materials and functionalities, substrate demands, and scalability), discuss the opportunities and challenges, and rationalize how those can be useful for advanced SPM applications. As will be shown, FEBID is an ideal tool for fabrication/modification and rapid prototyping of SPM-tipswith the potential to scale up industrially relevant manufacturing
Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Focused electron beam-induced deposition
  • Nano-fabrication
  • Nano-printing
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Tip fabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)

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