Figure 1. Energy and charge diagram illustrating Kelvin probe technique principle.
Figure 1. Energy and charge diagram illustrating Kelvin probe technique principle.

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Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), also called surface potential microscopy, has found broad applications, ranging from corrosion studies of alloys, photovoltaic effects on solar cells, and surface analysis. KPFM, together with conductive AFM, have been recognized as the two most used nanoscale electrical characterization tools, complementing each other. However, limited spatial resolution and lack of measurement repeatability and accuracy has limited its usefulness in some critical areas, such as in the identification of donor and acceptor domains in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells, material differentiation in composite materials, and trapped charges on insulators.

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