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Ultrasonic force microscopies

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Publication date2013
Host publicationAcoustic scanning probe microscopy
EditorsFrancesco Marinello, Daniele Passeri, Enrico Savio
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9783642274930
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameNanoScience and Technology


Ultrasonic Force Microscopy, or UFM, allows combination of two apparently mutually exclusive requirements for the nanomechanical probe—high stiffness for the efficient indentation and high mechanical compliance that brings force sensitivity. Somewhat inventively, UFM allows to combine these two virtues in the same cantilever by using indention of the sample at high frequency, when cantilever is very rigid, but detecting the result of this indention at much lower frequency. That is made possible due to the extreme nonlinearity of the nanoscale tip-surface junction force-distance dependence, that acts as “mechanical diode” detecting ultrasound in AFM. After introducing UFM principles, we discuss features of experimental UFM implementation, and the theory of contrast in this mode, progressing to quantitative measurements of contact stiffness. A variety of UFM applications ranging from semiconductor quantum nanostructures, very large scale integrated circuits, and reinforced ceramics to polymer composites and biological materials is presented via comprehensive imaging gallery accompanied by the guidance for the optimal UFM measurements of these materials. We also address effects of adhesion and topography on the elasticity imaging and the approaches for reducing artefacts connected with these effects. This is complemented by another extremely useful feature of UFM ultrasound induced superlubricity that allows damage free imaging of materials ranging from stiff solid state devices and graphene to biological materials. Finally, we proceed to the exploration of time-resolved nanoscale phenomena using nonlinear mixing of multiple vibration frequencies in ultrasonic AFM—Heterodyne Force Microscopy, or HFM, that also include mixing of ultrasonic vibration with other periodic physical excitations, eg. electrical, photothermal, etc. Significant section of the chapter analyses the ability of UFM and HFM to detect subsurface mechanical inhomogeneities, as well as describes related sample preparation methods on the example of subsurface imaging of nanostructures and iii–v quantum dots.