Journal of Materials Research

Rapid Communications

Contrast Mechanism Maps for Piezoresponse Force Microscopy

Sergei V. Kalinina1 and Dawn A. Bonnella1

a1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 3231 Walnut Street, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania 19104

Piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) is one of the most established techniques for the observation and local modification of ferroelectric domain structures on the submicron level. Both electrostatic and electromechanical interactions contribute at the tip-surface junction in a complex manner, which has resulted in multiple controversies in the interpretation of PFM. Here we analyze the influence of experimental conditions such as tip radius of curvature, indentation force, and cantilever stiffness on PFM image contrast. These results are used to construct contrast mechanism maps, which correlate the imaging conditions with the dominant contrast mechanisms. Conditions under which materials properties can be determined quantitatively are elucidated.

(Received September 20 2001)

(Accepted February 20 2002)