Terminology and Patenting
Questions of terminology are often discussed at various levels, including on pages of the given periodical . In 2009 Technosphere Publishing House issued a book devoted to the terms and definitions in nanotechnology . Nevertheless, considering swift development of this sphere, terminology demands constant attention.
In the context of the probe microscopy we can consider as an example application of the notion "cantilever". In the English language this term means a console or an arm, and it appeared long before the scanning probe and atomic-force microscopies. At the same time "cantilever" is one of the most important parts of an atomic-force microscope (AFM). Considering this circumstance and the fact that new versions of AFM are still patented all the time, an analysis of the term’s usage will be useful for preparation of applications for inventions.
In most cases cantilevers on semiconductor substrates are produced with application of micro-electronic technologies. Figure 1 demonstrates a cantilever, which is a flexible elongated flat element, the end 2 of which is fixed on a fragment of semiconductor substrate 3. At that, the second fragment 4 of the flexible console 1 on the first flat surface 5 has a needle 6 with tip 7, and on the second flat surface 8 – mirror area 9. Often, entire second flat surface 8 is a mirror one. If needle 6 is moved over surface 10 of sample 11, then it will rise upwards over the atom centre (bump 12), and between atoms it will fall into pit 13. If beam 14 of laser 15 is directed at mirror area 9, then during the passage of a probe over bump 12 the reflected beam 16 will go in one direction, and when passing over pit 13 – in another direction. Photodetectors 17 and 18 will fix the arrangement of separate atoms or their groups on the surface of the sample.
A cantilever contains more than one element, and there is trend for a complication of its design. Considering this fact, we should define precisely the names of all of its components. A correct usage of terms will protect an inventor against judicial claims and promote understanding between the experts.
Let us consider some examples from the history of usage of the term "cantilever" and its components in SPM. In  this name refers to a flexible console, while the needle is designated as a point. In  the needle is named a pointed tip. In  it is already simply a tip, and the flexible element is an arm, while a cantilever is a console together with the fragment of a semi-conductor substrate on which it is fixed. In  the flexible element together with a substrate fragment is named a package, and in  it is an assembly. Up to mid 1990s cantilever was more frequently translated as an arm and console. In the Russian language literature the term "cantilever" has been used widely enough since 1995 .
Subsequently cantilevers became more and more complicated. They were integrated with thin lightguide probes . Very often piezoresistive elements were fixed on the consoles: in  – piesoresistive cantilever, in  –piesoresistive sensor. Later parts of other material with a set radius  were attached to the needle end. At that, the needle was dubbed as a probe part (a probe with a part) or a detection probe (a measuring probe) . Later it became possible to grow up thin long formations on the needles – whiskers (moustaches, thorns, probes, sensor elements) . In  the cylindrical element protruding the diameter of the tip of the edge was named a flared AFM tip (protruding tip for АFМ) and a flared probe (a probe with a ledge).
It should be pointed out that according to  the term "probe" is translated as a probe sensor or a measuring probe – a device for registration of information signals in SPМ. The device should begin from point 7 (fig.1) of needle 6, and can end with mirror area 9, which moves in accordance with the profile of an investigated surface 10. At the same time, the probe sensor also can end with photodetectors 17 and 18, which register signals.
In the German version "a cantilever" turned into Kraftmikroskopiesonde (force microscope probe) . Free interpretation of the term continued also in the Russian patents , where a flexible console is named a beam, and cantilever is understood as a product together with a fragment of a semi-conductor basis and a needle. In  a set of flexible consoles with needles is dubbed as a multizone cantilever, and there is only one needle on each console.
Considering the above-stated contradictions, it is necessity to sort out the terminology connected with cantilevers. In the Russian language literature "cantilever" more often means a product including elements 1, 3, 6 and 9 (fig.1), but in patents it would be more expedient to call so the flexible extended element 1 – flexible console. Needle 6 refers to its entire body, and the point of needle 7 should be dubbed a tip. The fragment of the semi-conductor substrate 3, on which console 1 is fixed, could be called a console basis. The whole product, but without laser 15 and photodetectors 17 and 18, can be called a probe of a console type.
As it was already mentioned, after their appearance the cantilevers were constantly improved. At the end of needle 6 (fig.2) in the tip zone 7 whiskers 8 were formed, which can be called a probe with tip 5 at the end. Piezoresistive layer 4 was deposited on console 1. Such a product can be called a piezoresistive probe of a console type. If electronic elements, for example, preamplifier 2, are also formed in it, it will be a probe sensor or a piezoresistive probe sensor of a console type.
If several flexible consoles 2 are fixed on basis 1 (fig.3), it is possible to dub a product as a line of probes of a console type. If flexible consoles 1 (fig.4) are located on basis 2, for example, over aperture 3, this will be a matrix of probes of a console type.
Other arrangements of console 1 are also possible, for example, when they are parallel to each other and grouped in several lines. They can also be called a matrix of probes of a console type. Such systems are not widespread so far, but the matrices with an external arrangement of consoles will most probably be developed further, because such a design makes easier a replacement of the probes and operation of the devices. In  such a matrix is called a multiprobe sensor of a contour type, and in  – a rotatable multi-cantilever. It should be underlined that the term "rotatable" is inexpedient for usage in patenting, because in a particular case a cantilever can be of a swinging type, besides, the functional specific features of a device should not be included in its name. When inventions with well-established terminology are concerned, an expert can intuitively guess what is what and just call the author by phone (although this is not recommended), but when the uniformity of terminology is broken, a written request is indispensable. Of course, in future various versions of cantilevers will be developed, but in patenting we should use a uniform terminology as a basis, like the one proposed in this article.
Of course, the situation with a cantilever is not the only example of a term ambiguity. For example, terms "design" and "designers" are now widespread in microelectronics. The term "designer" is referred to inventors, constructors and drawers, while "design" implies ideas, inventions and their implementation, structure, drawing and arrangement of elements in a microcircuit. This word has penetrated even into the sphere of nanotechnologies. For example: "chemical design of magnetic nanocomposites in solid-phase nanoreactors" . Indeed, English words "designer" and "design" have, among other interpretations the ones, mentioned above, but these terms should be used very cautiously, because of their multiple possible meanings. Recently terms "a patent landscape" and "a patent road map" have appeared due to a literal translation of the foreign literature, and now they are frequently used by the officials who have a vague idea about the patenting business. Perhaps in future these terms will also get their niche, but so far they quite often confuse the inventors. ■