The additive effect of harmonics on conservative and dissipative interactions

Sergio Santos, Karim R. Gadelrab, Victor Barcons, Josep Font, Marco Stefancich, Matteo Chiesa

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10 Scopus citations


Multifrequency atomic force microscopy holds promise as a tool for chemical and topological imaging with nanoscale resolution. Here, we solve the equation of motion exactly for the fundamental mode in terms of the cantilever mean deflection, the fundamental frequency of oscillation, and the higher harmonic amplitudes and phases. The fundamental frequency provides information about the mean force, dissipation, and variations in the magnitude of the attractive and the repulsive force components during an oscillation cycle. The contributions of the higher harmonics to the position, velocity, and acceleration can be added gradually where the details of the true instantaneous force are recovered only when tens of harmonics are included. A formalism is developed here to decouple and quantify the viscous term of the force in the short and long range. It is also shown that the viscosity independent paths on tip approach and tip retraction can also be decoupled by simply acquiring a FFT at two different cantilever separations. The two paths correspond to tip distances at which metastability is present as, for example, in the presence of capillary interactions and where there is surface energy hysteresis.

Original languageBritish English
Article number124901
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2012


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