On eigenmodes, stiffness, and sensitivity of atomic force microscope cantilevers in air versus liquids

Daniel Kiracofe, Purdue University - Main Campus
Arvind Raman, Purdue University - Main Campus

Date of this Version



DOI: 10.1063/1.3284206

This document has been peer-reviewed.



The effect of hydrodynamic loading on the eigenmode shapes, modal stiffnesses, and optical lever sensitivities of atomic force microscope (AFM) microcantilevers is investigated by measuring the vibrations of such microcantilevers in air and water using a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer. It is found that for rectangular tipless microcantilevers, the measured fundamental and higher eigenmodes and their equivalent stiffnesses are nearly identical in air and in water. However, for microcantilevers with a tip mass or for picket shaped cantilevers, there is a marked difference in the second (and higher) eigenmode shapes between air and water that leads to a large decrease in their modal stiffness in water as compared to air as well as a decrease in their optical lever sensitivity. These results are explained in terms of hydrodynamic interactions of microcantilevers with nonuniform mass distribution. The results clearly demonstrate that tip mass and hydrodynamic loading must be taken into account in stiffness calibration and optical lever sensitivity calibration while using higher-order eigenmodes in dynamic AFM.


Engineering | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology