Calibration of the flexural spring constant for atomic force microscope colloid probe cantilevers provides significant challenges. The presence of a large attached spherical added mass complicates many of the more common calibration techniques such as reference cantilever, Sader, and added mass. Even the most promising option, AFM thermal, can encounter difficulties during the optical lever sensitivity measurement due to strong adhesion and friction between the sphere and a surface. This may cause buckling of the end of the cantilever and hysteresis in the approach-retract curves resulting in increased uncertainty in the calibration. Most recently, laser Doppler vibrometry has been used to accurately calibrate the normal spring constant of a wide variety of tipped and tipless commercial cantilevers. This paper describes a variant of the technique, scanning laser Doppler vibrometry (SLDV), optimized for colloid probe cantilevers and capable of spring constant calibration uncertainties near ± 1 %.
atomic force microscopy, calibration, cantilever, colloid probe, laser Doppler vibrometry, spring constant