Nondestructive observation of domain structure of ferroelectrics, dynamic behavior under external field and related phenomena is becoming significant. As a nondestructive and subsurface characterizing technique, the authors developed acoustic microscopy based on a commercial scanning probe microscope for direct observation of local ferroelectricity, elasticity and defects on several inorganic functional materials, transparent PLZT ceramics, relax-based PMN-PT crystal and lead-free bismuth titanate ceramics without any special processing (polishing or etching) to the sample. The direct observation is particularly useful and convenient for analyzing ferroelectrics/semiconductor integrated material and devices. The excitation frequency is in the range of several kHz to decades of kHz, which is much lower than that of the traditional acoustic imaging techniques. But several applications of scanning probe acoustic microscope (SPAM) involving ferroelectric samples with the resolution of 10nm were obtained. The expanding scope of application for SPAM shows exciting possibilities for non-destructive analyses in the microelectrics industry.

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