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Method of making superhard tips for micro-probe microscopy and field emission

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #5393647.

Forming micro-probe tips for an atomic force microscope, a scanning tunneling microscope, a beam electron emission microscope, or for field emission, by first thinning a tip of a first material, such as silicon. The tips are then reacted with a second material, such as atoms from an organic or ammonia vapor, at a temperature of about C. and vacuum conditions for several minutes. Vapors such as methane, propane or acetylene will be converted to SiC or WC while ammonia will be converted to Si.sub.3 N.sub.4. The converted material will have different physical, chemical and electrical properties. For example, a SiC tip will be superhard, approaching diamond in hardness. Electrically conductive tips are suitable for field emission.

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