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Nanoscale Elastic-Property Mapping with Contact-Resonance-Frequency AFM



Donna C. Hurley, Tony B. Kos, Paul Rice


We describe dynamic atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques to map the nanoscale elastic properties of surfaces, thin films, and nanostructures. Our approach is based on atomic force acoustic microscopy (AFAM) methods that have previously been used for quantitative elastic-property measurements at a fixed sample position. AFAM measurements determine the resonant frequencies of an AFM cantilever in contact mode to calculate the tip-sample contact stiffness k*. Local values for elastic properties such as the indentation modulus M can be determined from k* using the appropriate contact-mechanics models. To enable imaging at practical rates, we have developed a frequency-tracking circuit based on digital signal processor architecture to rapidly locate the contact-resonance frequencies at each image position. We present contact-resonance frequency images obtained using both flexural and torsional resonant cantilever modes as well as the resulting contact-stiffness (k*) image calculated from the frequency images. Methods to obtain elastic-modulus images of M from stiffness images are also discussed.
Proceedings Title
Proc. Materials Research Society Conf.
Conference Dates
November 29-December 3, 2004
Conference Location
Boston, MA, USA
Conference Title
Mater. Res. Soc. Conf.


atomic foce acoustic microscopy, atomic force microscopy, elastic properties, nanomechanics


Hurley, D. , Kos, T. and Rice, P. (2004), Nanoscale Elastic-Property Mapping with Contact-Resonance-Frequency AFM, Proc. Materials Research Society Conf., Boston, MA, USA, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created December 30, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021