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Studying material properties on the nanometer scale: instrumental development and applications


O'Connor, Stephen D. (1995) Studying material properties on the nanometer scale: instrumental development and applications. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/P0AA-7W43.


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This thesis describes experimental work designed to understand and manipulate material properties on the nanometer scale. Two strategies have been explored: instrument development and experimental applications.

Section I describes work associated with atomic force microscopy, including application studies of human hair morphology and the surface microstructure of a bulk metallic glass [...]. Also included in this section are two instrumental advances. First, a mathematical algorithm to extract intermolecular potentials from experimental data is described. Second, a simple, robust method for reducing mechanical noise in these experiments is presented.

Section II outlines early experiments aimed at applying Near-field Scanning Optical microscopy to gas-phase chemical analysis. Standard instruments were constructed and tested. Preliminary work aimed at using the near-field effect to desorb ionized particles from surfaces was also completed.

Section III describes the construction of temperature and vibration sensors based on material properties in silicon. Unprecedented resolution has been obtained with a simple, inexpensive device. The vibration sensors take advantage of Schottky barrier reshaping while the junction is excited with optically induced charge carriers. In a similar manner, the temperature sensors monitor changes in electron mobility.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:atomic force microscopy; material properties; nanometer; near-field optical microscopy
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Baldeschwieler, John D.
Thesis Committee:
  • Gray, Harry B. (chair)
  • Beauchamp, Jesse L.
  • Baldeschwieler, John D.
  • Fraser, Scott E.
  • Chan, Sunney I.
Defense Date:19 May 1995
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-01252005-092413
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:333
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:25 Jan 2005
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 03:56

Thesis Files

PDF (OConnor_sd_1995.pdf) - Final Version
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