This release is available in German.
A joint team of researchers at CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) and the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and Plasma Physics (Munich, Germany) report the non-invasive and nanoscale resolved infrared mapping of strain fields in semiconductors. The method, which is based on near-field microscopy, opens new avenues for analyzing mechanical properties of high-performance materials or for contact-free mapping of local conductivity in strain-engineered electronic devices (Nature Nanotechnology, advanced online publication, 11 Jan. 2009).
Visualizing strain at length scales below 100 nm is a key requirement in modern measurement because strain determines the mechanical and electrical properties of high-performance ceramics or modern electronic devices, respectively. The non-invasive mapping of strain with nanoscale spatial resolution, however, is still a challenge.
A promising route for highly sensitive and non-invasive mapping of nanoscale material properties is scattering-type Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (s-SNOM). Part of the team had pioneered this technique over the last decade, enabling chemical recognition of nanostructures and mapping of local conductivity in industrial semiconductor nanodevices. The technique makes use of extreme light concentration at the sharp tip of an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), yielding nanoscale resolved images at visible, infrared and terahertz frequencies. The s-SNOM thus breaks the diffraction barrier throughout the electromagnetic spectrum and with its 20 nm resolving power matches the needs of modern nanoscience and technology.
Now, the research team has provided first experimental evidence that the microscopy technique is capable of mapping local strain and cracks of nanoscale dimensions. This was demonstrated by pressing a sharp dia
|Contact: Dr. Rainer Hillenbrand|