To locally access electrochemical active surfaces and interfaces in operando at the sub-micron scale at high temperatures in a reactive gas atmosphere is of great importance to understand the basic mechanisms in new functional materials, for instance, for energy technologies, such as solid oxide fuel cells and electrolyzer cells. Here, we report on advanced improvements of our original controlled atmosphere high temperature scanning probe microscope, CAHT-SPM. The new microscope can employ a broad range of the scanning probe techniques including tapping mode, scanning tunneling microscopy, scanning tunneling spectroscopy, conductive atomic force microscopy, and Kelvin probe force microscopy. The temperature of the sample can be as high as 850 °C. Both reducing and oxidizing gases such as oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen can be added in the sample chamber and the oxygen partial pressure (pO2) is monitored by an oxygen sensor. We present here some examples of its capabilities demonstrated by high temperature topography with simultaneously ac electrical conductance measurements during atmosphere changes, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy at various temperatures, and measurements of the surface potential. The improved CAHT-SPM, therefore, holds a great potential for local sub-micron analysis of high-temperature and gas induced changes of a wide range of materials.
Review of Scientific Instruments, 2013, Vol 84, Issue 7