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Nano Lett. 2012 Feb 8;12(2):893-8. doi: 10.1021/nl203956q. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Submicrosecond time resolution atomic force microscopy for probing nanoscale dynamics.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


We propose, simulate, and experimentally validate a new mechanical detection method to analyze atomic force microscopy (AFM) cantilever motion that enables noncontact discrimination of transient events with ~100 ns temporal resolution without the need for custom AFM probes, specialized instrumentation, or expensive add-on hardware. As an example application, we use the method to screen thermally annealed poly(3-hexylthiophene):phenyl-C(61)-butyric acid methyl ester photovoltaic devices under realistic testing conditions over a technologically relevant performance window. We show that variations in device efficiency and nanoscale transient charging behavior are correlated, thereby linking local dynamics with device behavior. We anticipate that this method will find application in scanning probe experiments of dynamic local mechanical, electronic, magnetic, and biophysical phenomena.

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