This application note delves into the principles and applications of Piezo Response Force Microscopy (PFM), a specialized mode of atomic force microscopy (AFM) used to study piezoelectric properties of materials at the nanoscale. It explains the fundamental concept of piezoelectricity, where mechanical energy is converted into electric energy and vice versa. The note highlights how PFM measures the local inverse piezoelectric response, enabling high-resolution mapping of ferroelectric domains. It covers the experimental setup for PFM, including details about the use of conductive cantilevers and the application of AC voltage to induce sample deformation. The application note also explores various materials studied using PFM, such as lithium niobate and ferroelectric thin films, and discusses advanced techniques like high-voltage PFM and dual frequency resonance tracking (DFRT) PFM. Additionally, it touches on the use of PFM in spectroscopy for domain reversal studies and in lithography for nanoscale domain writing, underscoring the technique's importance in understanding the electromechanical properties of materials.
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Nanosurf's team of application scientists is always working on creating new interesting measurements for the benefit of the users of Nanosurf atomic force microscopes. The application notes we publish are written and edited by our global team of AFM Experts to provide you with example results in an easy to ready format and enough theoretical context to help novice users understand more complex measurement methods.