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Energy Transfer Between Eigenmodes in Multimodal Atomic Force Microscopy



Sang M. An, Santiago D. Solares Rivera, Sergio Santos, Daniel Ebeling


We present experimental and computational investigations of tetramodal and pentamodal atomic force microscopy (AFM), respectively, whereby the first four or five flexural modes of the cantilever are simultaneously excited externally. This leads to six to eight additional observables in the form of amplitude and phase signals, with respect to the monomodal amplitude modulation method. We convert these additional observables into three or four dissipation and virial expressions, and show that, besides providing more physically meaningful information than the amplitudes and phases, these quantities can also provide enhanced contrast that would otherwise remain hidden in the original observables. Finally, we show that the complexity of the multimodal impact leads to significant energy transfer between the active eigenmodes, such that the dissipated power for individual eigenmodes may be positive or negative, even though the total dissipated power remains positive. This type of multifrequency AFM characterization with multiple driven eigenmodes could enable more robust quantification of sample properties as well as frequency dependent characterization of surfaces whose viscoelastic properties exhibit multiple relaxation times.


Multifrequency atomic force microscopy, bimodal, trimodal, multimodal, virial, energy dissipation


An, S. , Solares Rivera, S. , Santos, S. and Ebeling, D. (2014), Energy Transfer Between Eigenmodes in Multimodal Atomic Force Microscopy, Nanotechnology, [online],, (Accessed February 27, 2024)
Created November 4, 2014, Updated October 12, 2021