Signal reversal in Kelvin-probe force microscopy

P. Mesquida*, D. Kohl, G. Schitter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Kelvin-probe force microscopy is a measurement mode of atomic force microscopy, which is used to quantitatively map the electrical surface potential of a sample. Inadequate hardware and electronic design can lead to signal cross talk and, in consequence, false results. Here, we show that certain cross talk artifacts not only do manifest themselves in additional noise, reduced resolution, or an offset of the measured surface potential but can also lead to an inverted signal scale and, crucially, cannot be diagnosed with a known reference signal. We show experimental data on an electrically homogeneous sample, describe a method to detect the artifact, and propose simple remedies, which should be well within the reach of most research and industrial laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113703
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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