In multifrequency atomic force microscopy (AFM), probe’s characteristic of assigning resonance frequencies to integer harmonics results in a remarkable improvement of detection sensitivity at specific harmonic components. The selection criterion of harmonic order is based on its amplitude’s sensitivity on material properties, e.g., elasticity. Previous studies on designing harmonic probe are unable to provide a large design capability along with maintaining the structural integrity. Herein, we propose a harmonic probe with step cross section, in which it has variable width in top and bottom steps, while the middle step in cross section is kept constant. Higher order resonance frequencies are tailored to be integer times of fundamental resonance frequency. The probe design is implemented within a structural optimization framework. The optimally designed probe is micromachined using focused ion beam milling technique, and then measured with an AFM. The measurement results agree well with our resonance frequency assignment requirement.

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