MFM of bits on a harddisk

MFM of bits on a harddisk

The measurements shown here were taken with a Nanosurf Mobile S Large Scan head. The sample was a 10GB single head 3.5″ harddisk magnetised in the plane of the medium with a track distance of 600 nm and a bit length of 70 nm, which corresponds to 42k TPI and 363k BPI

The Nanosurf Mobile S and EasyScan 2 (with mode extension) can image the magnetic stray field in the MFM (Magnetic Force Microscopy) imaging mode. In this mode, the stray field is detected by sensing the magnetic force it exerts on a magnetically coated cantilever tip. This force causes a change in the cantilever resonance frequency and thereby shifts the phase of the cantilever vibration. The MFM image is measured by recording the phase contrast image when scanning a plane parallel to the surface in the same location, but a few nanometers away from the sample.

2.5×2.5µm image, z-range: 6°

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Strontium ruthanate on Strontium titanate imaged in dynamic mode

Strontium ruthanate on Strontium titanate imaged in dynamic mode

Strontium ruthenate is a potential electrode material for ferroelectric capacitors. The electrical properties (e.g. leakage currents) of such thin film devices are dependent on the electronic properties of the electrode/ferroelectric junctions where Strontium ruthenate on Strontium titnate provides an excellent characteristic.

Also the film thickness is of great importance in the field of capacitors as it determines the size if the final capacitor. As the electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller the films need to get thinner as well. To meet the market requirements tremendous progress has been made in thin film materials science over the last decades. The development of new in-situ analysis techniques such as Reflective High Energy Electron Diffraction made it possible to grow high purity thin monolayer films in a controlled fashion. Analysis of these layers also underwent a revolution with the invention of various scanning probe methods, primarily the atomic force microscope and scanning tunnelling microscope.

The Strontium ruthenate was imaged with the Mobile S high resolution scanner operated in dynamic mode. The AFM image nicely shows the terrace structure of the deposited thin film.

Scan size 2µm x 2µm; z-range 2.5nm

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Dynamic mode AFM of human hair

Dynamic mode AFM of human hair

The study of human hair surface is of great interest for the cosmetic industry. The hair surface structure is important for the diffusion of compounds, such as cosmetic products. Polymers are usually used in hair cosmetics for the improvement of the hair surface. They adhere to the hair surface by van der Waals type forces.

Several techniques have been proposed for the evaluation of the morphologic changes in the hair surface after treatments with solutions containing polymers [1-3]. Among the most used ones is AFM. The measurements on has been performed with an easyScan2 Large Scan AFM operated in dynamic mode. The surface of the hair and its distinctive structure is clearly visible.

40µm x 40µm scan range; 3µm z range

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Contact mode AFM of polished ceramic plate used in dentistry

Contact mode AFM of polished ceramic plate used in dentistry

Dental esthetics are becoming increasingly important for dental patients. Ceramics are frequently being applied for tooth restoration due to their higher mechanical strength and chemical inertness.

As esthetics become increasingly important for dental patients, ceramics are frequently applied for tooth restoration due to their higher mechanical strength and chemical inertness. It can be shown that the surface roughness of the polished ceramics is related to the crack formation [1]. It is therefore important to investigate this characteristic.

The measurement was recorded with a Nanite AFM operated in contact mode. Moreover the measurement was performed in a noisy environment without vibration insulation. The AFM image compares an unpolished to a polished ceramic surface where the RMS roughness is 570nm and 310nm respectively. Moreover, in the unpolished zone the polishing scratches are clearly visible.

Scan size 90µm x 90µm; z-range 3µm

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DFM measurements on individual textile fibres

DFM measurements on individual textile fibres

Textiles with new functionality can be produced by coating textile fibres with nano-scale particles. DFM measurements on individual textile fibres with a different surface treatment allow comparing the properties of these coatings. 

Textiles with new functionality can be produced by coating textile fibres with nano-scale particles. DFM measurements on individual textile fibres with a different surface treatment allow comparing the properties of these coatings. Although the image size could be measured using a high resolution DFM, a large scan DFM was used in order to have a sufficient height range for finding the highest point on the fibre diameter. The X-Y table option was used to facilitate positioning of the tip with respect to the fibre.

Scan size 5µm x 5µm; z-range 19nm

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Coating Morphology Analysis of Paper

Coating Morphology Analysis of Paper

To ensure the ink is uniformly transferred onto paper, a very homogenious surface quality of the paper is desired. The AFM provides accurate roughness measurements and quantitative analysis of surface morphology of different processed paper.

Uncoated 20×20µm image, z-range 1.8µm

This image shows the
rough fibrous structure
of uncoated paper.

Coated 3×3µm image, z-range 310nm

The image shows the
typical morphology of the
filling material of coated
paper.

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Electrode surface modified with multilayers of Polyoxometalate

Electrode surface modified with multilayers of Polyoxometalate

Electrode surfaces modified with polyoxometalates have gained much interest in recent years, among others because of their electrocatalytic properties. The functionalization of different electrode surfaces with these inorganic clusters has been reported.

The characterization of the surfaces with analytical tools like Scanning Tunneling Microscopy is, so far, restricted to monolayers of these anions. We have generalized a modification scheme which allows us to tailor the properties of the solid/electrolyte interface by alternate absorption of polyoxometalate anions and selected cations [3,4]. The so-obtained Ionic S elf Assembled Multilayers (ISAM) show interesting redox properties and can be examined with the above mentioned technique.

11nm x 11nm STM image of the crystallite; Vtip=50mV Itip=0.98nA

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Dynamic mode AFM on pentacene film on TiO2

Dynamic mode AFM on pentacene film on TiO2

Organic semiconductors obtained a lot of interest during the last years, due to their suitability for organic thin film transistor (OTFT) displays.

During the last decade the speed of such displays, could be increased by more than a factor of 10000. This was achieved by increasing the mobility of electrons in these films.

So far, pentacene seems to be the most promising material for OTFT displays. Not only the material quality influenced the speed of the displays, but also the quality and smoothness of the organic film. Therefore a control on the quality and flatness of such films is of great interest.

AFM showed to be a valuable tool for the inspection of such films. The shown AFM image was measured with the MobileS high resolution operated in dynamic mode.

7.7µm x 7.7µm scan range; 55nm z-range

Scan size: 80 µm x 80 µm
Potential range: 200 mV

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Screw dislocations in GaN

Screw dislocations in GaN

Gallium nitride features some unique properties such as large band gap, strong interatomic bonds, and high thermal conductivity. Along the last decade, GaN has attracted great interests owing to its potential applications in high power and high frequency electronic devices as well as in blue LED devices.

GaN layers are usually grown by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition and the Molecular Beam Epitaxy methods.

Sapphire is now the most commonly used substrate athough of its highly mismatched lattice and thermal expansion coefficients. As a consequence, the obtained GaN layers often contain an large number defects [4], mainly dislocations. The image shows a piece of GaN with steps and screw dislocations (holes). The goal is to count number of dislocations and step distribution.

Image size 11×11 µm, Z-range 3 nm

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Carbon nanotubes on HOPG

Carbon nanotubes on HOPG

Imaging of large multi-walled carbon nanotubes

The image come courtesy of Prof. Alexandru Darabont at the University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Researchers at the Department of physics of advanced materials and technology imaged large multi-walled carbon nanotubes on an HOPG substrate.

Scan size 500 × 500 nm; Z-range: 6 nm

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