Published in:

Applied Physics Letters 88,19 (2006) 2202132;


We propose a mode of dynamic scanning probe microscopy based on parametric resonance for highly sensitive nanoscale imaging and force spectroscopy. In this mode the microcantilever probe is excited by means of a closed-loop electronic circuit that modulates the microcantilever stiffness at a frequency close to twice its natural resonance frequency. Under ambient conditions this parametric pumping leads to self-sustained oscillations in a narrow frequency bandwidth thereby resulting in exquisitely sharp, controllable, and non-Lorentzian resonance peaks. We discuss and demonstrate the potential of imaging and force spectroscopy using this mode. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.


atomic-force microscopy;; amplification

Date of this Version

January 2006



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