Cantilever effects on the measurement of electrostatic potentials by scanning Kelvin probe microscopy

Koley, G.; Spencer, M. G.; Bhangale, H. R.
July 2001
Applied Physics Letters;7/23/2001, Vol. 79 Issue 4
Academic Journal
Scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM) is a unique way to measure electrostatic potentials for small geometries. It has numerous applications including characterization of integrated circuits and nanoscale devices. SKPM is attractive because of the quantitative nature of the measurements. In this work, we have examined one of the principal sources of measurement error, the cantilever (which holds the probe tip). The accuracy of measurements of electrostatic potentials on closely spaced regions biased differently is reduced due to a large capacitance gradient associated with the cantilever. However, it is observed that the accuracy of measurements increases as the tip–sample distance is decreased because the capacitance gradient of the tip becomes proportionally larger relative to that of the cantilever. It is further observed that longer tips with smaller cantilever areas measure the electrostatic potentials more accurately as the capacitance gradient of the cantilever is reduced. Scanning probe tips are parametrized by a factor R, which indicates their suitability for SKPM measurements. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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