Heebo Ha, Sebastian Müller, Roelf-Peter Baumann, Byungil Hwang

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Surface energy characterization is important to design the fabrication process of reliable electronic devices. Surface energy is influenced by various factors such as surface functionality and morphology. Owing to the high surface-to-volume ratio, surface energy at the nanoscale can be different from that of the bulk. However, the conventional methods for characterization of surface energy such as a sessile drop or Washburn methods cannot be used for nanoscale samples, owing to the limited volume for characterization. Recently, surface energy characterization on the nanoscale using atomic force microscopy (AFM) with Peak Force-Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping (PF-QNM) imaging mode has been proposed. The nanoscale AFM tips measure the adhesion forces at the nanoscale, which are converted into surface energy through pre-calibrated curves. Successful surface energy characterization of nanoscale metal samples using AFM with the PF-QNM method has been reported previously. This mini-review discusses the recent progress on surface energy characterization at the nanoscale using AFM with the PF-QNM method. The fundamentals of the PF-QNM mode are introduced, and the results of surface energy characterization are summarized. Consequently, the future research direction for surface energy characterization at the nanoscale is discussed.


Surface energy, Peak Force-quantitative nanomechanical napping, Nanoscale, Metal

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