(Dr. Peter Hesketh, advisor)
"A Novel, Micro-Contact Potential Difference Probe"
The purpose of this thesis was twofold: to study the suitability of a flexible polymer, called Parylene, to create a substrate onto which various metals, photoresists, and epoxies could be deposited, and to construct a novel Micro-Contact Potential Difference (CPD) Probe using this new substrate material. This Parylene membrane has the potential to allow MEMS devices to be utilized in a non-planar fashion, which is not currently the case given the rigid, silicon substrates of most devices. The micro-CPD Probe is a type of capacitive sensor that studies the contact potential difference between two materials. CPD probes can be used to study phenomenon as diverse as surface wear, contamination, crystal plane geometry, lubrication films, semiconductors, and the movement of ions in plants. The micro-CPD probe uses a shielding scheme integrated with commercial electronics to allow for high resolution scans of surfaces, and the reduction of electromagnetic noise.