Scattering scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) has been demonstrated as a valuable tool for mapping the optical and optoelectronic properties of materials with nanoscale resolution. Here we report experimental evidence that trapped electric charges injected by an electron beam at the surface of dielectric samples affect the sample–dipole interaction, which has direct impact on the s-SNOM image content. Nanoscale mapping of the surface trapped charge holds significant potential for the precise tailoring of the electrostatic properties of dielectric and semiconductive samples, such as hydroxyapatite, which has particular importance with respect to biomedical applications. The methodology developed here is highly relevant to semiconductor device fabrication as well.
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