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Limits of imaging resolution for atomic force microscopy of molecules

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4 Author(s)
Weihs, T.P. ; Department of Materials, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PH, United Kingdom ; Nawaz, Z. ; Jarvis, S.P. ; Pethica, J.B.

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The imaging resolution of an atomic force microscope operating in contact with a Langmuir–Blodgett (LB) film is predicted as a function of applied force, tip radius, adhesive force, and tip and film properties. The elastic modulus and the hardness of the LB film were measured using a nanoindenter and the imaging resolution is predicted using both a simple Hertzian elastic analysis and one that includes adhesive forces between the tip and the sample. For a small applied force (≪1 nN) the resolution improves sharply as the tip radius and the adhesive force decrease. The onset of inelastic deformation, however, limits the resolution of the sharpest tips.

Published in:

Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 27 )

Date of Publication:

Dec 1991

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