Drive-amplitude-modulation atomic force microscopy: From vacuum to liquids

Miriam Jaafar, Autonomous University of Madrid
David Martinez-Martin, Autonomous University of Madrid
Mariano Cuenca, Autonomous University of Madrid
John Melcher, University of Bristol
Arvind Raman, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Julio Gomez-Herrero, Autonomous University of Madrid

Date of this Version



Miriam Jaafar, David Martínez-Martín, Mariano Cuenca, John Melcher, Arvind Raman and Julio Gómez-Herrero. Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 2012, 3, 336–344. DOI: 10.3762/bjnano.3.38


Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 2012, 3, 336–344.

(CC BY 2.0)


We introduce drive-amplitude-modulation atomic force microscopy as a dynamic mode with outstanding performance in all environments from vacuum to liquids. As with frequency modulation, the new mode follows a feedback scheme with two nested loops: The first keeps the cantilever oscillation amplitude constant by regulating the driving force, and the second uses the driving force as the feedback variable for topography. Additionally, a phase-locked loop can be used as a parallel feedback allowing separation of the conservative and nonconservative interactions. We describe the basis of this mode and present some examples of its performance in three different environments. Drive-amplutide modulation is a very stable, intuitive and easy to use mode that is free of the feedback instability associated with the noncontact-to-contact transition that occurs in the frequency-modulation mode.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology