Imaging Pulsed Laser Deposition oxide growth by in-situ Atomic Force Microscopy

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To visualize the topography of thin oxide films during growth, thereby enabling to study its growth behavior quasi real-time, we have designed and integrated an atomic force microscope (AFM) in a pulsed laser deposition (PLD) vacuum setup. The AFM scanner and PLD target are integrated in a single support frame, combined with a fast sample transfer method, such that in-situ microscopy can be utilized after subsequent deposition pulses. The in-situ microscope can be operated from room temperature (RT) up to 700$^\circ$C and at (process) pressures ranging from the vacuum base pressure of 10$^{-6}$ mbar up to 1 mbar, typical PLD conditions for the growth of oxide films. The performance of this instrument is demonstrated by resolving unit cell height surface steps and surface topography under typical oxide PLD growth conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123902
Number of pages8
JournalReview of scientific instruments
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017


  • cond-mat.mtrl-sci
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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