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Development of a new hybrid approach combining AFM and SEM for the nanoparticle dimensional metrology

Abstract : At this time, there is no instrument capable of measuring a nano-object along the three spatial dimensions with a controlled uncertainty. The combination of several instruments is thus necessary to metrologically characterize the dimensional properties of a nano-object. This paper proposes a new approach of hybrid metrology taking advantage of the complementary nature of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques for measuring the main characteristic parameters of nanoparticle (NP) dimensions in 3D. The NP area equivalent, the minimal and the maximal Feret diameters are determined by SEM and the NP height is measured by AFM. In this context, a kind of new NP repositioning system consisting of a lithographed silicon substrate has been specifically developed. This device makes it possible to combine AFM and SEM size measurements performed exactly on the same set of NPs. In order to establish the proof-of-concept of this approach and assess the performance of both instruments, measurements were carried out on several samples of spherical silica NP populations ranging from 5 to 110 nm. The spherical nature of silica NPs imposes naturally the equality between their height and their lateral diameters. However, discrepancies between AFM and SEM measurements have been observed, showing significant deviation from sphericity as a function of the nanoparticle size.
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Loïc Crouzier, Alexandra Delvallee, Sébastien Ducourtieux, Laurent Devoille, Guillaume Noircler, et al.. Development of a new hybrid approach combining AFM and SEM for the nanoparticle dimensional metrology. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology., 2019, 10, pp.1523-1536. ⟨10.3762/bjnano.10.150⟩. ⟨cea-02197596⟩

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