A single probe for imaging photons, electrons and physical forces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The combination of complementary measurement techniques has become a frequent approach to improve scientific knowledge. Pairing of the high lateral resolution scanning force microscopy (SFM) with the spectroscopic information accessible through scanning transmission soft x-ray microscopy (STXM) permits assessing physical and chemical material properties with high spatial resolution. We present progress from the NanoXAS instrument towards using an SFM probe as an x-ray detector for STXM measurements. Just by the variation of one parameter, the SFM probe can be utilised to detect either sample photo-emitted electrons or transmitted photons. This allows the use of a single probe to detect electrons, photons and physical forces of interest. We also show recent progress and demonstrate the current limitations of using a high aspect ratio coaxial SFM probe to detect photo-emitted electrons with very high lateral resolution. Novel probe designs are proposed to further progress in using an SFM probe as a STXM detector.


  • Nicolas Pilet
  • Yuliya Lisunova
  • Fabio Lamattina
  • Stephanie E. Stevenson
  • Giancarlo Pigozzi
  • Patrycja Paruch
  • Rainer H. Fink
  • Hans J. Hug
  • Christoph Quitmann
  • Joerg Raabe
External organisations
  • Paul Scherrer Institute
  • University of Geneva
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nano Technology


  • carbon nanotube, co-axial tip, electron, photon detection, scanning force microscopy, scanning probe, x-ray microscopy
Original languageEnglish
Article number235705
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 5
Publication categoryResearch