Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Scanning Probe Microscopy for Dielectric and Metal Characterization



Joseph J. Kopanski, Thomas R. Walker


The properties of both insulators and metals can be characterized capacitively with scanning probe microscopy, though the techniques employed are different. Intermittent contact scanning capacitance microscopy (IC-SCM) is a useful technique for characterizing the dielectric constant of insulators. Scanning Kelvin force microscopy (SKFM) can image potential distributions and work functions within conductors. Both techniques depend on the capacitance between the tip and sample, which has an inverse square dependence on tip-sample separation, limiting spatial resolution. A differential data acquisition technique to improve spatial resolution is described.
Proceedings Title
Electrochemical Society Transactions, Dielectrics for Nanosystems III
Conference Dates
May 18-22, 2008
Conference Location
Phoenix, AZ
Conference Title
213th Meeting of the Electrochemical Society


dielectric constant, IC-SCM, intermittent contact scanning capacitance microscopy, scanning Kelvin force microscopy, SKFM


Kopanski, J. and Walker, T. (2008), Scanning Probe Microscopy for Dielectric and Metal Characterization, Electrochemical Society Transactions, Dielectrics for Nanosystems III, Phoenix, AZ (Accessed July 21, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created June 10, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017