Development of quantitative electric force microscopy for surface and subsurface characterization of nanostructures in polymeric materials


Minhua Zhao,    Xiaohong Gu,    Tinh Nguyen


Polymeric Materials Group, National Institute of Standards & Technology

100 Bureau Dr, MS 8615, Gaithersburg, MD 20899



Electric Force Microscopy (EFM) [1], a variant of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), is based on long-range electrostatic interactions between the probe and sample, which can measure local electrical properties including surface potential and dielectric constant with nanoscale spatial resolution. However, the broad application of EFM technique in polymeric materials is limited by its current qualitative status.   In this study, quantitative EFM characterization on nanostructured polymer films and carbon nanotubes dispersed in polymer nanocomposites is developed by the use of custom-made high-aspect-ratio AFM probes under controlled humidity conditions in conjunction with the analytical models. Advantages of quantitative EFM imaging relative to the widely used AFM phase imaging techniques are highlighted. We anticipate that quantitative EFM technique will be a valuable tool for surface and subsurface characterization of  nanostructures in polymer materials, with a broad range of applications in nanotechnology.




[1] Zhao, M.H., et al., Ultrasharp and high aspect ratio carbon nanotube atomic force microscopy probes for enhanced surface potential imaging. Nanotechnology, 2008. 19(23).


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Category:                     Materials


Name:                          Minhua Zhao

Mentorí»s name:          Tinh Nguyen

Division:                      Materials and Construction Research

Laboratory:                BFRL

Room/Building:          B358/226

Mail Stop:                   8615

Telephone #:               301-975-8923

Fax #:                           301-990-6891


Sigma Xi:                    Yes



Is your mentor a Sigma Xi Member?     No