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A stabler non contact atomic force microscopy imaging using a tuning fork for air and liquid environments: The zero phase mode atomic force microscopy

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4 Author(s)
Van, L.Pham ; CEA/DSM/IRAMIS/SPCSI CEA-Saclay, Bâtiment 462, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France ; Kyrylyuk, V. ; Thoyer, F. ; Cousty, J.

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We describe a method to perform noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) in liquid and in air using a quartz crystal tuning fork. The latter, thanks to its increased stability originating from its higher stiffness, compared to cantilevers, enables very low oscillation amplitudes and thus, should yield a very high sensitivity to the force interactions. However, applying conventional NC-AFM technique fails, due to the phase lock loop demodulator becoming unstable as the input signal to noise ratio decreases when lowering the oscillation amplitude. Therefore we have developed so-called zero phase mode atomic force microscopy based on phase modulation. Comparisons with conventional frequency modulation mode using the same mechanical setup demonstrate gains in sensitivity and in scanning rates. High resolution topographic images, as well as simultaneous dissipation images can be recorded using this very convenient and effective technique.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:104 ,  Issue: 7 )