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Nano-Scale Forces, Stresses, and Tip Geometry Evolution of Amplitude Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy Probes

[+] Author Affiliations
Vahid Vahdat, Robert W. Carpick

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

David S. Grierson, Kevin T. Turner

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Paper No. DETC2011-48653, pp. 543-549; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 5th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems; 8th International Conference on Design and Design Education; 21st Reliability, Stress Analysis, and Failure Prevention Conference
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5484-6
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Atomic-scale wear is one of the main factors that hinders the performance of probes for atomic force microscopy (AFM) [1–6], including for the widely-used amplitude modulation (AM-AFM) mode. To conduct consistent and quantitative AM-AFM wear experiments, we have developed a protocol that involves controlling the tip-sample interaction regime, calculating the maximum contact force and normal stress over the course of the wear test, and quantifying the wear volume using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy imaging (HR-TEM). The tip-sample interaction forces are estimated from a closed-form equation that uses the Derjaguin-Müller-Toporov interaction model (DMT) accompanied by a tip radius measurement algorithm known as blind tip reconstruction. The applicability of this new protocol is demonstrated experimentally by scanning silicon probes against ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) samples. The wear process for the Si tip involved blunting of the tip due to tip fragmentation and plastic deformation. In addition, previous studies on the relative contributions of energy dissipation processes to AFM tip wear are reviewed, and initial steps are taken towards applying this concept to AM-AFM.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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