The European Physical Journal Applied Physics

Instrumentation and Metrology

Production of gold tips for tip-enhanced near-field optical microscopy and spectroscopy: analysis of the etching parameters

L. Billota1, L. Berguigaa1, M. L. de la Chapellea1, Y. Gilberta1 and R. Bachelota1

Laboratoire de nanotechnologie et d'instrumentation optique, CNRS FRE 2671, Université de Technologie de Troyes, 12 rue Marie Curie, BP 2060, 10010 Troyes, France


In this paper, we analyze in detail the etching parameters that are used for manufacturing gold tips for tip-enhanced near-field optical microscopy and spectroscopy. From the current variation versus time, we first demonstrate that the sharpest tips are obtained if the etching is stopped at a specific time where the curve presents an inflexion point. We then analyze the influence of the concentration of the etching solution and the applied voltage on the roughness and the tip apex. As a result, we propose a set of parameters allowing for reproducible production of gold tips with 20 nm radius of curvature.

(Received November 8 2004)

(Revised February 10 2005)

(Accepted March 24 2005)

(Online publication August 18 2005)


  • 81.16.-c – Methods of nanofabrication and processing;
  • 82.45.Yz – Nanostructured materials in electrochemistry;
  • 81.07.-b – Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization;
  • 07.79.-v – Scanning probe microscopes and components