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A novel technique for the in situ calibration and measurement of friction with the atomic force microscope

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Presented here is a novel technique for the in situ calibration and measurement of friction with the atomic force microscope that can be applied simultaneously with the normal force measurement. The method exploits the fact that the cantilever sits at an angle of about 10° to the horizontal, which causes the tip (or probe) to slide horizontally over the substrate as a normal force run is performed. This sliding gives rise to an axial friction force (in the axial direction of the cantilever), which is measured through the difference in the constant compliance slopes of the inward and outward traces. Traditionally, friction is measured through lateral scanning of the substrate, which is time consuming, and requires an ex situ calibration of both the torsional spring constant and the lateral sensitivity of the photodiode detector. The present method requires no calibration other than the normal spring constant and the vertical sensitivity of the detector, which is routinely done in the force analysis. The present protocol can also be applied to preexisting force curves, and, in addition, it provides the means to correct force data for cantilevers with large probes.

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Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:76 ,  Issue: 8 )