Current displacement (I-Z) spectroscopy-based characterization of nanoscale electro machining (nano-EM) tools

K. R. Virwani, A. P. Malshe, K. P. Rajurkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A nanoscale die-sinking electro machining (nano-EM) process has been developed on the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) platform. The consistency of the features machined by the process depends on the quality of the tools used. A simple, fast, and reliable method has been developed using in situ STM to characterize nano-EM tool quality using current displacement (I-Z) spectroscopy curves. The tunnelling current from the tool was monitored as a function of the distance from the workpiece. The distance where the tunnelling current dropped to zero was correlated with the tool's ability to perform nano-EM and atomic resolution surface scans. The tools for which the tunnelling current dropped to zero at 4 Å from the workpiece resulted in consistent nano-EM and atomic resolution topographic scans. A quality criterion based on the I-Z method has been developed for nano-EM tools. This criterion can be extended to define the tool quality in probe-based machining processes and in the emerging field of molecular electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part N: Journal of Nanoengineering and Nanosystems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006


  • discharge
  • electric field
  • machining
  • nanoscale
  • quality
  • scanning probe
  • tool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Current displacement (I-Z) spectroscopy-based characterization of nanoscale electro machining (nano-EM) tools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this