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Accurate and Precise Calibration of AFM Cantilever Spring Constants using Laser Doppler Vibrometry



Richard S. Gates, Jon R. Pratt


Accurate cantilever spring constants are important in atomic force microscopy in both control of sensitive imaging and to provide correct nanomechanical property measurements. Conventional atomic force microscope (AFM) spring constant calibration techniques are usually performed in an AFM. They rely on significant handling and often require touching the cantilever probe tip to a surface to calibrate the optical lever sensitivity of the configuration. This can damage the tip. The thermal calibration technique developed for laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) can be used to calibrate cantilevers without handling or touching the tip to a surface. Both flexural and torsional spring constants can be measured. Using both Euler-Bernoulli modeling and an SI traceable electrostatic force balance technique as a comparison we demonstrate that the LDV Thermal technique is capable of providing rapid calibrations with a combination of ease, accuracy, and precision beyond anything previously available.


AFM, Calibration, Spring Constant, Thermal Method, Vibrometry


Gates, R. and Pratt, J. (2012), Accurate and Precise Calibration of AFM Cantilever Spring Constants using Laser Doppler Vibrometry, Nanotechnology (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created August 24, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017