Electrostatic force detection with an atomic force microscope (AFM) is ideally suited for the study of the surface properties of dielectric materials. With this technique the domain patterns of periodically poled LiNbO<sub>3</sub>-crystals (PPLN) and of LiNbO3 crystals that were modified, e.g., by high electric fields, could be detected, without etching the surface.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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