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Atomic scale characteristics of surfaces play a central role in numerous scientific fields from friction and surface electronics all the way to heterogeneous catalysis Yet, the tools utilized to characterize surfaces at atomic scale rely on strict environmental conditions such as ultrahigh vacuum, limiting the relevance of results for realistic applications In this thesis, we report true atomic resolution direct, real space surface imaging via conductive atomic force microscopy (C AFM) under ambient conditions Our approach delivers atomic resolution maps on a variety of material surfaces that comprise defects including single atomic vacancies We hypothesize that atomic resolution can be enabled by either a confined, electrically conductive pathway or tunneling through a hydrodynamic lift at high speed scanning Using our method, we report the capability of in situ charge state manipulation of defects on MoS 2 and the observation of an exotic electronic effect room temperature charge ordering in a thin transition metal carbide (TMC) crystal (i,e., an MXene), αMo2C. Our findings herald the emergence of C-AFM as a powerful tool for atomic resolution imaging and manipulation under ambient conditions



Saima Aktar Sumaiya is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Saima joined Baykara Lab in Fall 2018 after obtaining her BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 2015 She received her MSc in the same field from University of California, Merced in 2020 along the way of her PhD At Baykara Lab, Saima’s research focuses on studying the atomic scale structure and electronic properties of material surfaces by direct, real space surface imaging under ambient conditions

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