A quantitative measurement method for a polarity-inverted layer in ferroelectric or piezoelectric thin film is proposed. It is performed nondestructively by scanning nonlinear dielectric microscopy (SNDM). In SNDM, linear and nonlinear dielectric constants are measured using a probe that converts the variation of capacitance related to these constants into the variation of electrical oscillation frequency. In this paper, we describe a principle for determining the layer thickness and some calculation results of the output signal, which are related to the radius of the probe tip and the thickness of the inverted layer. Moreover, we derive an equation that represents the relationship between the output signal and the oscillation frequency of the probe and explain how to determine the thickness from the measured frequency. Experimental results in Sc-doped AlN piezoelectric thin films that have a polarity-inverted layer with a thickness of 1.5 μm fabricated by radio frequency magnetron sputtering showed a fairly good value of 1.38 μm for the thickness of the polarity-inverted layer.
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