Quantifying nanoscale forces using machine learning in dynamic atomic force microscopy

A. Chandrashekar*, P. Belardinelli, M.A. Bessa, U. Staufer, F. Alijani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Dynamic atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a key platform that enables topological and nanomechanical characterization of novel materials. This is achieved by linking the nanoscale forces that exist between the AFM tip and the sample to specific mathematical functions through modeling. However, the main challenge in dynamic AFM is to quantify these nanoscale forces without the use of complex models that are routinely used to explain the physics of tip–sample interaction. Here, we make use of machine learning and data science to characterize tip–sample forces purely from experimental data with sub-microsecond resolution. Our machine learning approach is first trained on standard AFM models and then showcased experimentally on a polymer blend of polystyrene (PS) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) sample. Using this algorithm we probe the complex physics of tip–sample contact in polymers, estimate elasticity, and provide insight into energy dissipation during contact. Our study opens a new route in dynamic AFM characterization where machine learning can be combined with experimental methodologies to probe transient processes involved in phase transformation as well as complex chemical and biological phenomena in real-time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2134-2143
JournalNanoscale Advances
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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