Quantitative Measurement with Scanning Thermal Microscope by Preventing the Distortion Due to the Heat Transfer through the Air
Because of its high spatial resolution, scanning thermal microscopy (SThM) has been developed quite actively and applied in such diverse areas as microelectronics, optoelectronics, polymers, and carbon nanotubes for more than a decade since the 1990s. However, despite its long history and diverse areas of application, surprisingly, no quantitative profiling method has been established yet. This is mostly due to the nonlocal nature of measurement by conventional SThM: the signal measured by SThM is induced not only from the local heat flux through the tip?sample thermal contact but also (and mostly) from the heat flux through the air gap between the sample and the SThM probe. In this study, a rigorous but simple and practical theory for quantitative SThM for local measurement is established and verified experimentally using high-performance SThM probes. The development of quantitative SThM will make possible new breakthroughs in diverse fields of nanothermal science and engineering.