The nonlinear dynamics of an atomic force microcantilever (AFM) with an attached multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) tip is investigated experimentally and theoretically. We present the experimental nonlinear frequency response of a MWCNT tipped microcantilever in the tapping mode. Several unusual features in the response distinguish it from those traditionally observed for conventional tips. The MWCNT tipped AFM probe is apparently immune to conventional imaging instabilities related to the coexistence of attractive and repulsive tapping regimes. A theoretical interaction model for the system using an Euler elastica MWCNT model is developed and found to predict several unusual features of the measured nonlinear response.

Date of this Version

May 2004