The design of a simple, variable temperature fluid cell for an atomic force microscope is presented. The stage is based on a thermoelectric heating/cooling element, which allows control of sample and fluid temperature from -5 to 130°C. The stage is stable enough to image at molecular resolution almost throughout the range of accessible temperature and can be used for imaging in either gas or liquids. This allows the molecular scale investigation of surface phase transitions and chemical kinetics at solid/liquid interfaces by varying the temperature. As an example, we present results of temperature-induced phase transitions in self-assembled surfactant aggregates at solid/liquid interfaces.
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