Research ArticleChemistry

Nanoscale simultaneous chemical and mechanical imaging via peak force infrared microscopy

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Science Advances  23 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1700255
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700255


Nondestructive chemical and mechanical measurements of materials with ~10-nm spatial resolution together with topography provide rich information on the compositions and organizations of heterogeneous materials and nanoscale objects. However, multimodal nanoscale correlations are difficult to achieve because of the limitation on spatial resolution of optical microscopy and constraints from instrumental complexities. We report a novel noninvasive spectroscopic scanning probe microscopy method—peak force infrared (PFIR) microscopy—that allows chemical imaging, collection of broadband infrared spectra, and mechanical mapping at a spatial resolution of 10 nm. In our technique, chemical absorption information is directly encoded in the withdraw curve of the peak force tapping cycle after illumination with synchronized infrared laser pulses in a simple apparatus. Nanoscale phase separation in block copolymers and inhomogeneity in CH3NH3PbBr3 perovskite crystals are studied with correlative infrared/mechanical nanoimaging. Furthermore, we show that the PFIR method is sensitive to the presence of surface phonon polaritons in boron nitride nanotubes. PFIR microscopy will provide a powerful analytical tool for explorations at the nanoscale across wide disciplines.

  • Super-resolution imaging
  • infrared microscopy
  • chemical imaging
  • nanoscale characterization
  • mechanical mapping
  • Block copolymer
  • scanning probe microscopy
  • peakforce tapping

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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