How to measure forces with atomic force microscopy without significant influence from nonlinear optical lever sensitivity

Esben Thormann, Torbjön Pettersson, Per M. Claesson

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Abstract

In an atomic force microscope AFM, the force is normally sensed by measuring the deflection of a cantilever by an optical lever technique. Experimental results show a nonlinear relationship between the detected signal and the actual deflection of the cantilever, which is widely ignored in literature. In this study we have designed experiments to investigate different possible reasons for this nonlinearity and compared the experimental findings with calculations. It is commonly assumed that this nonlinearity only causes problems for extremely large cantilever deflections. However, our results show that the nonlinear detector response might influence many AFM studies where soft or short cantilevers are used. Based on our analysis we draw conclusions of the main reason for the nonlinearity and suggest a rule of thumb for which cantilevers one should use under different experimental conditions. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number093701
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Volume80
Issue number9
Number of pages11
ISSN0034-6748
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright (2009) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80, 093701 (2009) and may be found at http://rsi.aip.org/resource/1/rsinak/v80/i9/p093701_s1?ver=pdfcov.

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