Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 114 pages) : PDF file, illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

James Castracane

Committee Members

Michael Hennessy, Vincent LaBella, Nathaniel Cady, Richard Matyi, Serge Oktyabrsky


Cantilever-free MFM, Cantilever-free MRFM, MFM, MRFM, Nanoscale magnetic measurements, virtual cantilever, Magnetic instruments, Magnetic suspension, Microelectromechanical systems, Nanostructured materials

Subject Categories

Electrical and Electronics | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


The evolution of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) into the Magnetic Force Microscope (MFM) and Magnetic Resonance Force Microscope (MRFM) has had a substantial impact on the characterization of nanoscale phenomena. Detection of 10-17 Newtons per root Hertz has occurred with use of an ultra-sensitive cantilever along with optical interferometry methods within these geometries. The sensitivity of these platforms is dependent on the characteristics of the cantilever, where increased length and a low Young's modulus increase the force sensitivity (meters/Newtons). Using IC fabrication techniques, the realization of generating cantilevers with this sensitivity is feasible, but stress compensation layers are required to prevent the free end from curling. Aside from the difficultly in fabrication, the cantilever based approach has one fixed spring constant yielding a finite detectable magnetic force range. An alternative approach incorporating the magnetic levitation of a magnet with an integrated reflector, known as the birdie, has been investigated.