Proceedings of SPIE
This paper describes recent results obtained with the Ultrasonic/Shear-Force Microscope (SUNM), an analytical tool suitable for investigating the quite different dynamic displayed by fluid-like films when subjected to mesoscopic confinement and while in intimate contact with two sliding solid boundaries. The SUNM uses two sensory modules to concurrently but independently monitor the effects that fluid-mediated interactions exert on two sliding bodies: the microscope’s sharp probe (attached to a piezoelectric sensor) and the analyzed sample (attached to an ultrasonic transducer). This dual capability allows correlating the fluid-like film’s viscoelastic properties with changes in the probe’s resonance frequency and the generation of sound. A detailed monitoring of sliding friction by ultrasonic means and with nanometer resolution is unprecedented, which opens potential uses of the versatile microscope as a surface and subsurface material characterization tool. As a surface metrology tool, the SUNM presents a potential impact in diverse areas ranging from fundamental studies of nanotribology, confinement-driven solid to liquid phase transformation of polymer films, characterization of industrial lubricants, and the study of elastic properties of bio-membranes. As a sub-surface metrology tool, the SUNM can be used in the investigation of the elastic properties of low- and high-k dielectric materials, piezoelectric and ferroelectric films, as well as quality control in the construction of micro- and nano-fluidics devices.
A. H. La Rosa, N. Li, and K. Asante, “The ultrasonic/shear-force microscope: a metrology tool for surface science and technology," Invited Paper, in "Nanofabrication: Technologies, Devices, and Applications II,” Warren Y. Lai, L. E. Ocola, Stanley Pau Eds., Symposiumin Optics East 2005, Boston, MA. Proc. SPIE 6002, 163-170 (2005).