Water desorption in Kelvin-probe force microscopy: a generic model

Patrick Mesquida, Dominik Kohl, Sneha Bansode, Melinda Duer, Georg Schitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


Nanoparticles or similar, nanoscale objects such as proteins or biological fibrils usually have to be deposited from aqueous suspension onto a solid support surface for further characterization by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and related methods such as Kelvin-probe force microscopy (KFM). Here we show, on the examples of functionalized nanoparticles and collagen fibrils, that water desorption after sample preparation affects their electrostatic potential determined by KFM in a predictable manner. We explain this effect with a simple, analytical model based on the capacitance of the partially dielectric-filled tip-sample system. We also propose practical measures to avoid false interpretation of electrical AFM-based experiments. As the phenomenon is very generic it may have significant implications in the application of AFM to nanoparticles and other nanostructures including biological ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Issue number50
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Water desorption in Kelvin-probe force microscopy: a generic model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this