First Advisor

Andres H. La Rosa

Date of Publication

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics






Acoustic microscopy, Mesoscopic phenomena (Physics), Proton transfer reactions, Electric fields



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 97 p.) : ill. (chiefly col.)


The shear force mechanism has been utilized as a distance regulation method in scanning probe microscopes. However, the origin of shear force is still unclear. One of the most important reasons for the shear-force damping is due to the presence of a water contamination layer at the sample surface in ambient conditions. Understanding the behavior of such mesoscopic fluid-like films is of significance for studies of not only scanning probe microscopy but also other complex surface phenomena, such as nanotribology, lubrication, adhesion, wetting, and the microfluidity of biological membranes. This thesis investigates, in particular, the dynamics of mesoscopic fluids confined between two sliding solid boundaries. When fluids are constrained to nanometer-sized regions, their physical properties can greatly differ from those displayed by bulk liquids. To gain an insight into the fundamental characteristics of the confined fluid films, we exploit the versatile capabilities of the novel shear-force/acoustic near-field microscope (SANM), which is able to concurrently and independently monitor the effects of the fluid-mediated interactions acting on both the microscope's probe and the sample to be analyzed. Two signals are monitored simultaneously during each experimental cycle: the tuning fork signal, which is the oscillation amplitude of the probe and gives access to the shear force; and acoustic signal, which is detected by an acoustic sensor placed under the sample. Systematic experiments are carried out to investigate the effects of probe geometry, environmental humidity, and chemical properties of probe and sample surface (water affinity: hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity) on the probe-sample interactions, expressing the influence of the fluid-like contamination films.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Portland State University. Dept. of Physics

Persistent Identifier