Imaging and tracking an electrostatic charge micro-domain by Kelvin force microscopy as evidence of water adsorption on mica surface

L. I. Ruiz-Ortega*, P. Mesquida, G. Schitter, B. Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Muscovite mica is a widely accepted substrate for scanning probe microscopy (SPM) investigations. However, mica has intrinsic properties that alter samples and obstruct their analysis due to free charges build-up, ionic exchange and water adsorption taking place at the surface. In addition to interfacial phenomena, there is a growing interest in electrostatic charges on insulators as they are crucial in diverse applications. Despite the high demand for studies of this nature, experimental set-ups capable of resolving charge build-up at the micro-scale are still scarce and technically limited. Here, we report the imaging of surface charge dissipation on freshly cleaved mica by Kelvin-probe Force Microscopy (KPFM). A local electrostatic charge micro-domain was generated by friction between an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip and mica, and its decay was tracked by two-dimensional mapping using KPFM. We found time-dependent charge dissipation, which is attributed to the adsorption of water molecules on mica surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1395
Number of pages5
JournalCURRENT APPLIED PHYSICS
Volume20
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Charge dissipation
  • Electrostatic charge
  • Kelvin-probe force microscopy
  • Mica
  • Scanning probe microscopy

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