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Scanning Probe Microscopy Tool

This page provides details on the scanning probe microscopy tool in the Stand-Alone Measurements and Characterization bays of the Process Development and Integration Laboratory. This capability is currently operational.

Photo of series of black rectangular units connected to one another and on a larger base unit.  A silver metal stage is in the center of the photo and a half-octagonal silver unit is located above the stage.

Close-up of the atomic force microscopy unit that is one of the Stand-alone Measurements and Characterization tools in the Process Development and Integration Laboratory.

This tool is a large-area scanning-probe microscope integrated with a sample-transfer station to move samples in controlled environments from any other available analytical or deposition system. The technique is generally non-destructive, and the system can be almost completely automated.

Techniques available are atomic force microscopy (tapping mode, non-contact, contact mode, lateral force, phase imaging), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), electron force microscopy (EFM)/scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM), as well as custom modules (conductive AFM [C-AFM] and scanning capacitance microscopy [SCM]).


  • Analyzing the morphology and electrical properties of PV materials and devices
  • Obtaining high-resolution 3-dimensional images of surfaces
  • Measuring surface potential, electro-conductivity, and qualitative doping information
Photo of a researcher sitting in front of two monitors displaying images. To the right and behind him is a large light-colored metal frame that supports a clear-sided glove box with four rubber glove extending outward. The end of the glove box has a large and small metal chamber for introducing samples.

Scanning probe microscope is one of the Stand-alone Measurements and Characterization tools in the Process Development and Integration Laboratory.

Special features:

  • Veeco Dimension 5000
    • Automated imaging anywhere on the surface of up to 100 pre-programmable points
    • Controllable atmosphere (Ar, N2)
    • Load lock attached to the glove box to avoid air exposure of the sample surface during transport to other tools
    • Closed-loop scanner x-y-z
    • Can take samples up to 7.87 in. x 7.87 in. in X-Y and up to 12 mm thick; compatible with the standard 157-mm x 157-mm platen size
  • Veeco Dimension Hybrid XYZ Head
    • 90-µm2 XY imaging area, 8-µm Z-range minimum (10 µm is typical)
    • Head has <1.8-nm root-mean-square (RMS) X-Y noise level with closed-loop feedback and <0.06-nm RMS Z noise level
  • Nanoscope V Controller
    • Up to eight simultaneous channels in real-time scanning
    • Up to 5120 x 5120 pixel images

Contact Helio Moutinho for more details.