There are many challenges in accomplishing tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) and obtaining a proper tip is probably the greatest one. Since tip size, composition, and geometry are the ultimate parameters that determine enhancement of intensity and lateral resolution, the tip becomes the most critical component in a TERS experiment. However, since the discovery of TERS the cantilevers used in atomic force microscopy (AFM) have remained basically the same: commercial silicon (or silicon nitride) tips covered by a metallic coating. The main issues of using metal-coated silicon cantilevers, such as wearing off of the metal layer or increased tip radius, can be completely overcome by using all-metal cantilevers. Until now in TERS experiments such probes have only been used in a scanning tunneling microscope or in a tuning fork-based shear force microscope but not in AFM. In this work for the first time, we show the use of compact silver cantilevers that are fully compatible with contact and tapping modes in AFM demonstrating their superb performance in TERS experiments.
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