123705 High Quality
Local potential distribution plays important roles in physical, chemical and biological processes at a solid/liquid interface. However, the measurement of a local potential distribution in liquid has been a long-standing challenge, which has hindered understanding of the mechanisms for the various interfacial phenomena. Recently, we have developed a method to overcome this problem [Kobayashi et al., Rev. Sci. Instrum. 81, 123705 (2010)], which is referred to as open-loop electric potential microscopy (OL-EPM). Here, we present its first application to quantitative measurements of local potential distribution in liquid. In OL-EPM, an ac bias voltage is applied between a tip and sample and the first and second harmonic cantilever oscillations induced by the electrostatic force are detected and used for the calculation of a potential value. In the equation for the potential calculation, here we introduce a correction factor to cancel out the error caused by the difference in the deflection sensitivity to the first and second harmonic electrostatic forces. With the improved method, we have performed potential measurements of two types of latex beads with different surface charges. The measured potential difference between the different types of latex beads approximately corresponds to their zeta potential difference, which demonstrates the quantitative capability of OL-EPM.