Ultra-High Vacuum Scanning Thermal Microscopy for Nanometer Resolution Quantitative Thermometry
Understanding energy dissipation at the nanoscale requires the ability to probe temperature fields with nanometer resolution. Here, we describe an ultra-high vacuum (UHV)-based scanning thermal microscope (SThM) technique that is capable of quantitatively mapping temperature fields with ?15 mK temperature resolution and ?10 nm spatial resolution. In this technique, a custom fabricated atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever, with a nanoscale Au?Cr thermocouple integrated into the tip of the probe, is used to measure temperature fields of surfaces. Operation in an UHV environment eliminates parasitic heat transport between the tip and the sample enabling quantitative measurement of temperature fields on metal and dielectric surfaces with nanoscale resolution. We demonstrate the capabilities of this technique by directly imaging thermal fields in the vicinity of a 200 nm wide, self-heated, Pt line. Our measurements are in excellent agreement with computational results?unambiguously demonstrating the quantitative capabilities of the technique. UHV-SThM techniques will play an important role in the study of energy dissipation in nanometer-sized electronic and photonic devices and the study of phonon and electron transport at the nanoscale.