We have developed a batch process for the microfabrication of silicon force sensors. A force sensor typically consists of a tip mounted onto a cantilever which is connected to a handling piece. The sensors are being used as microprobes and force transducers in scanning force microscopes. Our sensors are etched from single crystalsilicon. The process, which mainly involves a combination of wet and dry etching techniques, results in cantilevers and tips suitable as general purpose force sensors. The newly developed batch microfabrication process is superior to the process which uses wet etching of individual metal wires and it differs substantially from the known process to produce thin film cantilevers with and without integrated tips. The sensors have been applied in various microscopes, and with different types of operation including the repulsive, attractive, and magnetic force mode.
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