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Journal Article

Local electrical dissipation imaged by scanning force microscopy

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Denk, W., & Pohl, D. W. (1991). Local electrical dissipation imaged by scanning force microscopy. Applied Physics Letters, 59(17), 2171-2173. doi:10.1063/1.106088.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-C78E-7
The low internal damping of micromachined monolithic silicon levers with integrated probe tip has been exploited to detect nonconservative components in the interaction forces between the probe tip and sample. This is accomplished by monitoring the mechanical Q while scanning the surface. The gap width was controlled by keeping the lever's resonance frequency detuning, caused by the gradient of the force between tip and surface, fixed to a preset value. Nonconservative components are present even in Coulomb attraction since, whenever a voltage is applied between tip and substrate, currents are induced by the lever's oscillation leading to Joule dissipation of energy at a rate that depends on the local conductivity. Strong damping contrast was observed in layered GaAs/AlGaAs semiconductor heterostructures. It depended on the type of material, dopant concentration, illumination, and the applied voltage. Damping variations were resolved over distances of less than 20 nm.