Quantitative phase-mode electrostatic force microscopy on silicon oxide nanostructures

C Albonetti, S Chiodini, P Annibale, P Stoliar, R V Martinez, R Garcia, F Biscarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Phase-mode electrostatic force microscopy (EFM-Phase) is a viable technique to image surface electrostatic potential of silicon oxide stripes fabricated by oxidation scanning probe lithography, exhibiting an inhomogeneous distribution of localized charges trapped within the stripes during the electrochemical reaction. We show here that these nanopatterns are useful benchmark samples for assessing the spatial/voltage resolution of EFM-phase. To quantitatively extract the relevant observables, we developed and applied an analytical model of the electrostatic interactions in which the tip and the surface are modelled in a prolate spheroidal coordinates system, fitting accurately experimental data. A lateral resolution of ∼60 nm, which is comparable to the lateral resolution of EFM experiments reported in the literature, and a charge resolution of ∼20 electrons are achieved. This electrostatic analysis evidences the presence of a bimodal population of trapped charges in the nanopatterned stripes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-269
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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