Nonlinear dynamics for estimating the tip radius in atomic force microscopy

E. Rull Trinidad, T.W. Gribnau, P. Belardinelli, U. Staufer, F. Alijani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


The accuracy of measurements in Amplitude Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is directly related to the geometry of the tip. The AFM tip is characterized by its radius of curvature, which could suffer from alterations due to repetitive mechanical contact with the surface. An estimation of the tip change would allow the user to assess the quality during imaging. In this work, we introduce a method for tip radius evaluation based on the nonlinear dynamic response of the AFM cantilever. A nonlinear fitting procedure is used to match several curves with softening nonlinearity in the noncontact regime. By performing measurements in this regime, we are able to maximize the influence of the tip radius on the AFM probe response, and this can be exploited to estimate with good accuracy the AFM tip radius.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123105
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Van der Waals forces
  • Equipment and apparatus


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