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Measurement Science Review

The Journal of Institute of Measurement Science of Slovak Academy of Sciences

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Volume 18, Issue 6


Electrostatic Force Microscopy Measurement System for Micro-topography of Non-conductive Devices

Gaofa He
  • School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
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/ Jie Meng
  • School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
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/ Renbing Tan
  • School of Mathematics and Physics, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
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/ Peng Zhong
  • School of Mechanical and Power Engineering, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
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Published Online: 2018-11-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/msr-2018-0035


A home-made electrostatic force microscopy (EFM) system is described which is directed toward assessment of the microscopic geometry of the surface of specimens made of non-conductive material with a large thickness. This system is based on the variation in the electrostatic force between the conductive probe and the non-conductive specimen in order to get its surface morphology. First, based on the principle of dielectric polarization, the variation rules of the electrostatic force between the charged probe and the non-conductive specimen were studied. Later, a special tuning fork resonant probe unit made of quartz crystal was fabricated for measurement of the electrostatic force, and the scanning probe microscopic system in the constant force mode was constructed to characterize the three-dimensional micro-topography of the surface of the specimen. Finally, this system was used to perform scanning measurement experiments on the indented surface of the specimen made of the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material with thickness 3 mm. In the present experimental system, when the external voltage was 100 V and the distance from the probe tip to the specimen surface approximately 100 nm, the variance in the resonant frequency of the probe unit was around 0.5 Hz. These results indicate that this home-made EFM system can effectively characterize the micro-topography of the non-conductive specimen with very large thickness which is above several millimeters.

Keywords: Electrostatic force microscopy; surface morphology; precise measurement; scanning probe microscopy


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About the article

Received: 2018-07-19

Accepted: 2018-11-05

Published Online: 2018-11-30

Published in Print: 2018-10-01

Citation Information: Measurement Science Review, Volume 18, Issue 6, Pages 256–261, ISSN (Online) 1335-8871, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/msr-2018-0035.

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© 2018 Gaofa He et al., published by Sciendo. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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