Using Atomic Force Microscopy to Retrieve Nanomechanical Surface Properties of Materials


Article Preview

When atomic force microscopy is used to retrieve nanomechanical surface properties of materials, unsuspected measurement and instrumentation errors may occur. In this work, some error sources are investigated and operating and correction procedures are proposed in order to maximize the accuracy of the measurements. Experiments were performed on sapphire, Ni, Co and Ni-30%Co samples. A triangular pyramidal diamond tip was used to perform indentation and scratch tests, as well as for surface visualization. It was found that nonlinearities of the z-piezo scanner, in particular the creep of the z-piezo, and errors in the determination of the real dimensions of tested areas, are critical parameters to be considered. However, it was observed that there is a critical load application rate, above which the influence of the creep of the z-piezo can be neglected. Also, it was observed that deconvolution of the tip geometry from the image of the tested area is essential to obtain accurate values of the dimensions of indentations and scratches. The application of these procedures enables minimizing the errors in nanomechanical property measurements using atomic force microscopy techniques.



Materials Science Forum (Volumes 514-516)

Edited by:

Paula Maria Vilarinho






S. Graça et al., "Using Atomic Force Microscopy to Retrieve Nanomechanical Surface Properties of Materials", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 514-516, pp. 1598-1602, 2006

Online since:

May 2006




[1] G. Binnig, C. F. Quate and C. Gerber: Phys. Rev. Lett. Vol. 56 (9) (1986), p.930.

[2] R. Wiesendanger: Scanning Probe Microscopy and Spectroscopy - Methods and Applications, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994).

[3] S. M. Hues, C. F. Draper and R. J. Colton: J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B Vol. 12 (3) (1994), p.2211.

[4] M. VanLandingham: Microscopy Today Vol. (97-10) (1997), p.12.

[5] Nanoindentation and Nanoscratching with SPMs For NanoScope TM Version 4. 32 Software, Digital Instruments, Santa Barbara, CA, (1998).

[6] I. L. Jäger: Surf. Sci. Vol. 565 (2004), p.173.

[7] S. J. Bull: Z. Metallkunde Vol. 94 (7) (2003), p.787.

[8] J. S. Villarrubia: J. Res. Nat. Inst. Stand. Technol. Vol. 102 (4) (1997), p.425.

[9] J. S. Villarrubia: Surf. Sci. Vol. 321 (3) (1994), p.287.

[10] P. M. Williams, et al.: J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B Vol. 14 (2) (1996), p.1557.

[11] C. A. Brookes, et al.: J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. Vol. 5 (1972), p.1284.

[12] M. T. Attaf: Mat. Lett. Vol. 58 (2004), p.1100.

[13] S. Graça, R. Colaço and R. Vilar, to be submited.

[14] W. D. Nix and H. Gao: J. Mech. Phys. Solids Vol. 46 (1998), p.411.

[15] A. A. Elmustafa and D. S. Stone: Acta Mater. Vol. 50 (2002), p.3641.

In order to see related information, you need to Login.