A virtual instrument to standardise the calibration of atomic force microscope cantilevers

John Sader, Riccardo Borgani, Christopher Gibson, David Haviland, Michael Higgins, Jason Kilpatrick, Jianing Lu, Paul Mulvaney, Cameron Shearer, Ashley Slattery, Per-Anders Thoren, Jim Tran, Heyou Zhang, Hongrui Zhang, Tian Zheng

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    81 Citations (Scopus)


    Atomic force microscope (AFM) users often calibrate the spring constants of cantilevers using functionality built into individual instruments. This calibration is performed without reference to a global standard, hindering the robust comparison of force measurements reported by different laboratories. Here, we describe a virtual instrument (an internet-based initiative) whereby users from all laboratories can instantly and quantitatively compare their calibration measurements to those of others - standardising AFM force measurements - and simultaneously enabling non-invasive calibration of AFM cantilevers of any geometry. This global calibration initiative requires no additional instrumentation or data processing on the part of the user. It utilises a single website where users upload currently available data. A proof-of-principle demonstration of this initiative is presented using measured data from five independent laboratories across three countries, which also allows for an assessment of current calibration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number093711
    Pages (from-to)Art: 093711
    Number of pages14
    JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2016


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