National Natural Science Foundation of China (61522312, 61433017) and the CAS the Interdisciplinary and Collaboration Team of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Ultra-thin films (e.g., graphene, MoS2, and black phosphorus) have shown amazing performance in a variety of applications. The tailoring or machining of these ultra-thin films is often the preliminary step to manufacturing them into functional devices. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a flexible, high-efficiency and low-cost tailoring or machining tool with the advantages of high resolution and precision. However, the current AFM-based tailoring methods are often set up as an open loop regarding the machined depth and state. Thus, because of a lack of real-time feedback, an inappropriate applied force leads to over-cutting or under-cutting, which limits the performance of the manufactured devices. In this study, we propose a real-time tailoring and sensing method based on an ultrasonic vibration-assisted (USV-assisted) AFM system to solve the above problems. With the proposed method, the machined depth and state can be sensed in real time by detecting the phase value of the vibrating cantilever. To characterize and gain insight into the phase responses of the cantilever to the machined depth and sample material, a theoretical dynamic model of a cantilever-film vibrating system is introduced to model the machining process, and a sensing theory of machined depth and state is developed based on a USV-assisted AFM system. The experimental results verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed method, which in turn lay the foundation for a closed-loop tailoring control strategy for ultra-thin films.