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Prototype cantilevers for quantitative lateral force microscopy



Mark Reitsma, Richard S. Gates, Lawrence H. Friedman, Robert F. Cook


Prototype cantilevers that enable quantitative micro- to nano-scale surface force measurements using contact-mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) are presented. The “Hammerhead” cantilevers allow precise optical lever system calibrations for cantilever flexure and torsion, thus enabling quantitative friction measurements by lateral force microscopy at ultra-small scales—critically, the calibration can be performed in situ with force measurements, greatly increasing force measurement precision and accuracy. A methodology is presented for precise AFM instrument calibration and demonstrated to yield sub-percent relative uncertainties for optical-lever torque sensitivity on two different instruments. Finite element analysis of the loaded cantilevers, to assess the accuracy of the calibration methodology, indicates measurement errors of a few percent at most. The cantilevers are compatible with commercial AFM instrumentation and can be used for other AFM techniques such as contact imaging and dynamic mode measurements.
Review of Scientific Instruments


atomic force microscopy, AFM, friction, lateral force microscopy, LFM


Reitsma, M. , Gates, R. , Friedman, L. and Cook, R. (2011), Prototype cantilevers for quantitative lateral force microscopy, Review of Scientific Instruments, [online], (Accessed March 5, 2024)
Created September 27, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017