Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM)

Electromechanical coupling is a mechanism underlying the functionality of many materials. Piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) characterizes this behavior by using the AFM tip to locally apply an electrical stimulus to the sample and simultaneously measuring its mechanical response, on the order of ~1 – 100 pm/V. Asylum AFMs provide crosstalk-free, high sensitivity PFM measurements using a variety of advanced and unique measurement techniques. Sensitivity can be further enhanced by using large tip bias voltages, up to ±150 V on Cypher™ and up to ±220 V  on MFP-3D™. These techniques are also compatible with many accessories including heating, applied magnetic fields, and controlled gas and liquid environments. These exclusive capabilities have made Asylum Research the recognized world leader in commercial PFM technology.
 

Where is this technique used?

Many materials exhibit electromechanical coupling, broadly grouped into piezoelectrics, ferroelectrics, and certain biological materials. These materials are often studied to understand their fundamental material science, but are also relevant to applied technologies, including:
 

Piezoelectrics

MEMS, sensors & actuators, energy storage & harvesting, RF filters and switches, sonar

Ferroelectrics

Non-volatile memory, data storage devices, ultrasonic transducers, infrared imaging

Bio-electromechanics

Cardiac signaling, auditory responses, cell signaling, biosensors
 

What information can be obtained?  

  • The magnitude of the response
  • The directionality of the response
  • The coercive bias for local switching of the polarization
  • The offset bias for local switching of the polarization
  • Time-dependent relaxation processes
  • Domain size, shape, nucleation and interface properties

 

Asylum Research Image Gallery

Related Techniques


	Band Excitation

Band Excitation

Measures the complete cantilever frequency response for more thorough characterization PFM analysis.


	Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM)

Scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (sMIM)

sMIM is complementary to PFM, enabling one to characterize conductive domain walls in ferroelectrics.


	Electrochemical Strain Microscopy (ESM)

Electrochemical Strain Microscopy (ESM)

ESM probes electrochemical reactivity and ionic flows in energy storage and generation materials


	Conductive AFM (AFM)

Conductive AFM (AFM)

Detailed discussion of conductive AFM (CAFM) using Asylum’s exclusive ORCA modules.