Asylum Research/ORNL Band Excitation SPM Technique Reveals Unique Properties of Nanoscale Materials
May 13, 20107 – The revolutionary new Band Excitation (BE) technique, co-developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Asylum Research, has provided clues to the origins of unique properties of materials including spin and cluster glasses, phase-separated oxides, polycrystalline ferroelectrics, and ferromagnets, that are rooted in their highly disordered structures.
Spatial maps of non-linearity for different film thicknesses (thicknesses shown across top). The onset of nonlinearity with thickness proceeds through formation and merger of clearly visible micron-scale clusters with bulk nonlinearity value, as opposed to gradual increase of average nonlinearity.
These behaviors influence the scaling properties of the materials, including the thickness of thin films at which improved properties manifest. So-called “Rayleigh behaviors” have a direct bearing on the properties of nanoscale materials and, eventually, the uniformity of nanoscale devices. The new observations, which were made possible by advances in scanning probe microscopy (SPM) at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and Asylum Research, may result in the rethinking of 100-year-old theories behind the “quanta of nonlinearity” and properties of heterogeneous materials. This work is funded by the Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences CNMS user program. The principal investigators for this ground-breaking work are Stephen Jesse and Sergei Kalinin of ORNL, and Susan Trolier-McKinstry from Penn State. The findings were recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), April 20, 2010 entitled “Collective dynamics underpins Rayleigh behavior in disordered polycrystalline ferroelectrics.”
Sergei Kalinin of ORNL commented, “The nonlinear responses are a ubiquitous aspect of disordered materials that is directly linked to their unique functional properties. Our studies illustrate that the emergence of the nonlinear behavior is associated with large-scale collective responses, providing new clues to century-old problems.”
Added Roger Proksch, President of Asylum Research, “The amazing aspect of BE measurements is that the local nonlinearity is measured quantitatively with less than 10% absolute error in volumes millions of times smaller than those addressable by macroscopic measurements. This is highly unusual for SPM.”
About Asylum Research
Asylum Research is the technology leader for scanning probe and atomic force microscopes (SPM/AFM) for both materials and bioscience applications. Founded in 1999, we are a company dedicated to innovative instrumentation for nanoscience and nanotechnology, with over 250 years combined AFM/SPM experience from our scientists, engineers and software developers. Our instruments are used for a variety of nanoscience applications in material science, physics, polymers, chemistry, biomaterials, and bioscience, including single molecule mechanical experiments on DNA, protein unfolding and polymer elasticity, as well as force measurements for biomaterials, chemical sensing, polymers, colloidal forces, adhesion, and more. Asylum’s product line offers imaging and measurement capabilities for a wide range of samples, including advanced techniques such as electrical characterization (CAFM, KFM, EFM), high voltage piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), magnetic force microscopy (MFM) with our unique variable field module, quantitative nanoindenting, and a wide range of environmental accessories and application-ready modules.
Asylum’s MFP-3D™ set the standard for atomic force microscope technology, with unprecedented precision and flexibility. The MFP-3D is the first AFM with true independent piezo positioning in all three axes, combined with low noise closed-loop feedback sensor technology. The MFP-3D offers both top and bottom sample viewing for easy integration with most commercially-available inverted optical microscopes.
Asylum’s new Cypher™ AFM is the world’s first completely new small sample atomic force microscope in over a decade, and sets the new standard as the world’s highest resolution AFM. Cypher provides low-drift closed loop atomic resolution for the most accurate images and measurements possible today, rapid AC imaging with small cantilevers, Spot-On™ automated laser alignment for easy setup, integrated thermal, acoustic and vibration control, and broad support for all major AFM/SPM scanning modes and capabilities. Asylum Research offers the lowest cost of ownership of any atomic force microscope company. Ask us about our industry best 2-year warranty, our legendary product and applications support, and our exclusive 6-month money-back satisfaction guarantee. We are dedicated to providing the most technically advanced AFMs for researchers who want to take their experiments to the next level. Asylum Research also distributes third party cantilevers from Olympus, Nanoworld/Nanosensors, and our own MFM and iDrive™ tips.
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