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Towards the use of electrostatic force microscopy to study interphases in nanodielectric materials

Abstract : Interphases are usually considered to be responsible for the physical properties of nanodielectrics unexplainable by general mixture laws. The prediction of the effective dielectric permittivity of these materials needs to reconsider the intrinsic permittivity and the volume of the interphase. Despite the urge for a local characterization of these nanometric interfacial regions, no reliable experimental method has been developed yet. The Electrostatic Force Microscope (EFM) constitutes a promising technique to fulfill this objective. The aim of this thesis is to develop appropriate experimental protocols and signal analysis to explore the ability of EFM to the study of interphases in nanodielectrics. We first resorted to finite-element numerical simulations in order to deeper our understanding of the interaction between an EFM probe and several types of nanostructured samples, allowing to simulate afterwards the specific response to a nanocomposite possessing an interphase. We proposed a three-phase electrostatic model of a nanodielectric, upon which, we designed and synthesized model samples of known properties to play the role of a reference nanodielectric material for EFM measurements. Consequently, we were able to develop several experimental protocols and signal analysis with both DC and AC force gradient EFM modes. These techniques offer versatile methods to characterize interphases with reduced impact of the parasitic effects commonly convoluted within EFM signals. Finally, a quantification of the interphase in our nanodielectric model samples was possible thanks to correlation with our numerical simulations.
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Diana El Khoury. Towards the use of electrostatic force microscopy to study interphases in nanodielectric materials. Electronics. Université Montpellier, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017MONTS078⟩. ⟨tel-01997985v2⟩

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