In this paper, a new, fast, reproducible technique for atomic force microscopy (AFM) tips functionalization used for chemical interaction measurements is described. Precisely, the deposition of an aminated precursor is performed through plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) in order to create amine functional groups on the AFM tip and cantilever. The advantages of the precursor, aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES), were recently demonstrated for amine layer formation through PECVD deposition on polymeric surfaces. We extended this procedure to functionalize AFM probes. Titration force spectroscopy highlights the successful functionalization of AFM tips as well as their stability and use under different environmental conditions.
Volcke, C., Gandhiraman, R. P., Gubala, V., Doyle, C., Fonder, G., Thiry, P. A., Cafolla, A. A., James, B., & Williams, D. E. (2010). Plasma functionalization of AFM tips for measurement of chemical interactions. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 348(2), 322-328. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2010.04.042