Suitability of AFM cantilevers as wideband acoustic point receivers for the characterization of acoustic sources

B. A.J. Quesson, P. L.M.J. Van Neer, M. H. Van Es, D. Piras, K. Hatakeyama, A. Mohtashami, M. J. Van Der Lans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In Subsurface Scanning Probe Microscopy (SSPM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is combined with ultrasound. The AFM cantilever is used as a receiver. At low frequencies (O(MHz)) the method can be used to measure the stiffness contrast in a sample and at high frequencies (O(GHz)) to measure scattering based contrast. Both variants use modulated excitation signals in combination with the nonlinear tip-sample interaction to downmix the sample top surface displacement close to the resonance frequency of the cantilever. This concept has three advantages: 1) the resonance of the cantilever is used to boost the sensitivity, 2) the downmixing allows the system to record signals in an extremely wide range of carrier frequencies (kHz - GHz), and 3) the cantilever tip-sample contact diameter is usually much smaller than 10 nm. The latter implies that spatial averaging effects are negligible up to 100 GHz. Said advantages mean that AFM cantilevers could be useful to characterize acoustic sources. Here, we investigate the suitability of AFM cantilevers as acoustic point receivers to characterize acoustic sources. Investigation with an AFM setup and two sources - one O(MHz) and one O(GHz) - show a good match between the measured response, KLM simulations and the transducers bandwidth, which are promising results for the use of a cantilever as a wideband receiver for high resolution acoustic (transducer) characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIUS 2020 - International Ultrasonics Symposium, Proceedings
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ, USA
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781728154480
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event2020 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS 2020 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: 7 Sep 202011 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameIEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS
ISSN (Print)1948-5719
ISSN (Electronic)1948-5727


Conference2020 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Transducer characterization
  • Wideband


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