Applied Surface Science, Vol.157, No.1-2, 39-46, 2000
A comparison of preparation methods of copper surfaces for in situ scanning force microscopy investigations
Scanning force microscopy (SFM) studies of atmospheric corrosion of pure copper require a clean, homogeneous and smooth metal surface in order to image small changes. In this study various preparation methods for samples of copper sheets were tested: chemical etching, mechanical polishing as well as electrochemical polishing. In addition to copper sheet samples also specimen of sputtered copper obtained by physical vapour deposition on quartz substrates were chemically etched. In conclusion, mechanical polishing with monocrystalline diamond paste and electrochemical polishing of copper sheet yielded the most suitable surface condition for in situ investigations by means of SFM. Tapping mode atomic force microscopy (TM-AFM) was applied to gain information about the topography changes of the copper surface. Furthermore, the root mean square (rms) roughness of the sample surfaces was determined and delivered additional arguments for the applicability of the various surface treatments for in situ studies.