skip to main content


Title: Multifrequency spectrum analysis using fully digital G Mode-Kelvin probe force microscopy

Since its inception over two decades ago, Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) has become the standard technique for characterizing electrostatic, electrochemical and electronic properties at the nanoscale. In this work, we present a purely digital, software-based approach to KPFM utilizing big data acquisition and analysis methods. General Mode (G-Mode) KPFM, works by capturing the entire photodetector data stream, typically at the sampling rate limit, followed by subsequent de-noising, analysis and compression of the cantilever response. We demonstrate that the G-Mode approach allows simultaneous multi-harmonic detection, combined with on-the-fly transfer function correction required for quantitative CPD mapping. The KPFM approach outlined in this work significantly simplifies the technique by avoiding cumbersome instrumentation optimization steps (i.e. lock in parameters, feedback gains etc.), while also retaining the flexibility to be implemented on any atomic force microscopy platform. We demonstrate the added advantages of G-Mode KPFM by allowing simultaneous mapping of CPD and capacitance gradient (C') channels as well as increased flexibility in data exploration across frequency, time, space, and noise domains. As a result, G-Mode KPFM is particularly suitable for characterizing voltage sensitive materials or for operation in conductive electrolytes, and will be useful for probing electrodynamics in photovoltaics, liquids and ionic conductors.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. College Dublin, Dublin (Ireland)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 0957-4484
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; Kelvin probe force microscopy; contact potential difference; dual harmonic KPFM; big data; multivariate statistical analysis
OSTI Identifier: