Spatially resolved high voltage Kelvin probe force microscopy: a novel avenue for examining electrical phenomena at nanoscale

Conor J. McCluskey, Niyorjyoti Sharma, Jesi R. Maguire, Serene Pauly, Andrew Rogers, TJ Lindsay, Kristina M. Holsgrove, Brian J. Rodriguez, Navneet Soin, John Marty Gregg, Raymond G. P. McQuaid, Amit Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is a well-established scanning probe technique, used to measure surface potential accurately; it has found extensive use in the study of a range of materials phenomena. In its conventional form, KPFM frustratingly precludes imaging samples or scenarios where large surface potential exists or large surface potential gradients are created outside the typical ±10V window. If the potential regime measurable via KPFM could be expanded, to enable precise and reliable metrology, through a high voltage KPFM (HV-KPFM) adaptation, it could open up pathways towards a range of novel experiments, where the detection limit of regular KPFM has so far prevented the use of the technique. In this work, HV-KPFM has been realised and shown to be capable of measuring large surface potential and potential gradients with accuracy and precision. The technique has been employed to study a range of materials (positive temperature coefficient of resistivity ceramics, charge storage fluoropolymers and pyroelectrics) where accurate, spatially resolved mapping of surface potential within high voltage regime facilitates novel physical insight. The results demonstrate that HV-KPFM can be used as an effective tool to fill in existing gaps in surface potential measurements while also opening routes for novel studies in materials physics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2400011
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Physics Research
Early online date05 Apr 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 05 Apr 2024


  • high-voltage KPFM
  • pyroelectrics
  • triboelectrics
  • potential mapping
  • ferroelectrics
  • high‐voltage KPFM
  • triboelectric


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