Indexed on: 03 Jul '04Published on: 03 Jul '04Published in: Ultramicroscopy
In most scanning probe methods like an atomic force microscopy, a cantilever is mechanically vibrated in order to obtain topographies. Therefore, a tip-to-sample distance periodically changes during the scanning. Since the electrostatic force, which is a long-range force, is used for potential feedback in Kelvin probe force microscopy (KFM), such mechanical vibration leads to the fluctuation of the electrostatic force between the tip and the sample. In this study, firstly, we performed two-dimensional simulations of the electric fields between surfaces of the tip and the sample and evaluated the tip-to-sample distance dependence of the electrostatic force. Secondly, we experimentally confirmed the existence of the fluctuation of the electrostatic force and the tip-to-sample distance dependence of the electrostatic force was evaluated. Both the simulations and the experiments on the tip-to-sample distance dependence showed the importance of considering the tip sidewall effect in the KFM potential determination.