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Open AccessArticle

On the Limits of Scanning Thermal Microscopy of Ultrathin Films

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Department of Electrical Engineering and Media Technology, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Dieter-Görlitz-Platz 1, 94469 Deggendorf, Germany
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Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, Deggendorf Institute of Technology, Dieter-Görlitz-Platz 1, 94469 Deggendorf, Germany
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Institute of Functional Nano and Soft Materials, Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nanoscience & Technology, Soochow University, 199 Ren-Ai Road, Suzhou 215123, China
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Department of Applied Physics, University of Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2020, 13(3), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13030518
Received: 18 November 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 19 January 2020 / Published: 22 January 2020
Heat transfer processes in micro- and nanoscale devices have become more and more important during the last decades. Scanning thermal microscopy (SThM) is an atomic force microscopy (AFM) based method for analyzing local thermal conductivities of layers with thicknesses in the range of several nm to µm. In this work, we investigate ultrathin films of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), copper iodide in zincblende structure (γ-CuI) and some test sample structures fabricated of silicon (Si) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) using SThM. Specifically, we analyze and discuss the influence of the sample topography, the touching angle between probe tip and sample, and the probe tip temperature on the acquired results. In essence, our findings indicate that SThM measurements include artefacts that are not associated with the thermal properties of the film under investigation. We discuss possible ways of influence, as well as the magnitudes involved. Furthermore, we suggest necessary measuring conditions that make qualitative SThM measurements of ultrathin films of h-BN with thicknesses at or below 23 nm possible. View Full-Text
Keywords: scanning thermal microscopy; SThM; Atomic force microscopy; AFM; boron nitride; h-BN; topography influences; ultrathin films; copper iodide; CuI scanning thermal microscopy; SThM; Atomic force microscopy; AFM; boron nitride; h-BN; topography influences; ultrathin films; copper iodide; CuI
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Metzke, C.; Frammelsberger, W.; Weber, J.; Kühnel, F.; Zhu, K.; Lanza, M.; Benstetter, G. On the Limits of Scanning Thermal Microscopy of Ultrathin Films. Materials 2020, 13, 518.

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