The temperature dependence of the capillary forces at nano-sized contacts is investigated. Two different resistive scanning thermal microscopy (SThM) nanoprobes are used in this study. Measurements of the capillary forces are reported as a function of the probe temperature on hydrophilic samples of different thermal properties. These forces appear to be largely reduced for probe temperatures larger than a threshold temperature, where the value depends on the sample thermal conductance. This could pave the way to an alternative solution to reduce the stiction in nano/ micro-electromechanical (NEMS/MEMS) devices. The dimensions of the water meniscus at the probe–sample contact were then estimated. Moreover, these results help the evaluation of thermal conductance through the water meniscus. It is found, through this work, that the values of the thermal conductance through the water meniscus can represent 6% of those of the contact thermal conductance in the case of the KNT probe (from Kelvin nanotechnology). These values can be equal to 4% of those of thermal conduction in the cantilever–sample air gap in the case of a doped-silicon probe.
Assy, A., & Gomès, S. (2015). Temperature-dependent capillary forces at nano-contacts for estimating the heat conduction through a water meniscus. Nanotechnology, 26(35), 355401.