The method is called Pyroelectric Scanning Probe Microscopy (PyroSPM) and allows generating a map of the pyroelectric response with very high spatial resolution. In domains of previously aligned dipole moments small heat fluctuations are achieved by laser diode excitation from the bottom side thus inducing changes in the surface potential due to the pyroelectric effect. Simultaneously, the surface potential variations are detected by scanning surface potential microscopy thus forming the base for the pyroelectric coefficient map. The potential of the method is demonstrated on the basis of ferroelectric semi-crystalline copolymer thin films yielding local maxima of the pyroelectric coefficients around 40µC/m2K. Another promising feature of PyroSPM is the ability to visualize “screened” polarization thus enabling in-depth profiling of polarization distributions and domain formation and to study the composition dependence and the time and frequency behavior of ferroelectric nano-domains.
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Barbara Stadlober, Jonas Groten, Martin Zirkl, Anja Haase, A. Sawatdee, G. Scheipl, "Scanning pyroelectric microscopy for characterizing large-area printed ferroelectric sensors on the nanoscale," Proc. SPIE 8479, Organic Semiconductors in Sensors and Bioelectronics V, 847903 (15 October 2012);