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Material and Polymer Science

With increasing efforts to rationally design heterogeneous composite materials and a vast library of polymer chemistries and nanoscale building blocks to choose from, characterization methods are needed that map properties at highest spatial resolution. Microphase separations and distribution of additives and fillers affect critical bulk properties in applications from structural materials to organic photovoltaics. To address these characterization needs, the Innova and Dimension Edge provide a full suite of nanomechanical and –electrical modes ranging from phase imaging and force spectroscopy to piezo-response force microscopy, conductive AFM, and Kelvin probe force microscopy, combined with design for highest spatial resolution, achieving atomic resolution with ease.

Nanoelectrical Measurement

AFM based nanoscale electrical characterization is well established for semiconductor R&D and FA where scanning capacitance can provide maps of active carrier density and conductive AFM can probe device connectivity and gate oxide breakdown characteristics. Nanoscale electrical properties also play a key role in research areas ranging from graphene to conductive polymers where the most prominent AFM electrical modes are conductive AFM, Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), and electric force microscopy (EFM). Bruker’s Innova and Dimension Edge offer a full suite of electrical modes, leveraging Bruker’s patented LiftMode to enable electric field gradient mapping with EFM, more sensitive KPFM workfunction mapping, and artifact free conductivity mapping with Dark-Lift conductive AFM.



Electrochemical AFM (ECAFM) enables in situ mapping of surface changes while the sample is immersed in the electrolyte and under electrochemical control. Aside from fundamental electrochemistry studies, corrosion and Li battery development stand out as applications of ECAFM. Wide chemical compatibility with aqueous solutions as well as carbonate solvents in the case of Li batteries is key, necessitating use of Teflon/Kel-F as cell material, sufficiently deep and sealable cup-shaped cells, and retention of imaging performance in liquid. Bruker’s new 2nd generation Dimension Icon and Edge electrochemistry cells have been designed specifically to address these issues and provide turnkey solutions for Li battery research.

Patterned Sapphire Substrate

Patterned Sapphire Substrate (PSS) is a technique used for LED manufacturers to improve light output and overall device efficiency. A PSS is typically a sapphire wafer into which a periodic pattern has been etched. The patterns' shape vary but are conical, hemispherical, pyramidal or other similar structure. These structures are used to change the angle of outgoing photons reducing total internal reflection and thus increasing efficiency. The Edge-PSS AFM provides the needed metrology to control the PSS fabrication process including feature height, width, and angle measurements while also providing a full 3-D profile. The Edge-PSS is poised to meet the needs of PSS suppliers and LED manufactures as dimensions shrink to gain product efficiency.

Patterned Sapphire Substrate AFM image