Fast Atomic Force Microscopy

Principal Investigator: David Ginger

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is used in various fields of research to obtain surface images of sample materials. Sometimes, imaging a sample’s response to a dynamic perturbation is of interest. This requires very fast sampling speeds, with time resolutions on the order of nanoseconds. Current methods of achieving fast imaging rates use scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) which requires complex and expensive hardware. There is a need for an improved AFM method capable of nanosecond-scale resolution.

The investigator has developed a method of obtaining fast AFM images of a sample surface under a perturbation. This is done by measuring the time to frequency shift peak of an AFM cantilever using very fast sample rates, typically 50 MHz. Precise time control of the perturbation pulse, signal detection, and cantilever drive frequency yields a nanosecond-scale AFM method.

• The technology can be used to characterize acoustic meta-materials, the glass transition of polymers, solar cell charge generation, and ferroelectric properties. 

• Studying the dynamic behavior of integrated circuits may be aided by this AFM method. 

• Development and characterization of piezoelectric materials may benefit from time-resolved images using the technology. 

• The time resolution of this technique is on the order of nanoseconds. Currently available time-resolved AFM methods measure time scales of milliseconds. 

• As this technique is less complicated, it should be more accessible to more research groups. 

• Current ultra-fast microscopy techniques are restricted to materials with low optical contrast or high conductivity while this technology does not poses such limitation.

For more info, contact: Forest Bohrer

  • swap_vertical_circlelibrary_booksReferences (1)
    1. Rajiv Giridharagopal, Glennis E. Rayermann, Guozheng Shao, David T. Moore, Obadiah G. Reid, Andreas F. Tillack, David J. Masiello, David S. Ginger (January 16, 2012), Submicrosecond Time Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy for Probing Nanoscale Dynamics, Nano Letters, 893 - 898
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