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The relaxation of an atomic force microscope microlever is investigated after the unsticking instability. We show that the different oscillating behavior can be explained by considering that polymer chains remain stuck at the tip even when the microlever is away from the sample. A simple rheological model is used which satisfactorily describes the different features observed. The approach described in the article provides useful additional information to understand the behavior of a microlever coupled to a polymer network. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.