Atomic force microscope cantilever calibration using a focused ion beam

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    A calibration method is presented for determining the spring constant of atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers, which is a modification of the established Cleveland added mass technique. A focused ion beam (FIB) is used to remove a well-defined volume from a cantilever with known density, substantially reducing the uncertainty usually present in the added mass method. The technique can be applied to any type of AFM cantilever; but for the lowest uncertainty it is best applied to silicon cantilevers with spring constants above 0.7Nm 1, where uncertainty is demonstrated to be typically between 7 and 10%. Despite the removal of mass from the cantilever, the calibration method presented does not impair the probes ability to acquire data. The technique has been extensively tested in order to verify the underlying assumptions in the method. This method was compared to a number of other calibration methods and practical improvements to some of these techniques were developed, as well as important insights into the behavior of FIB modified cantilevers. These results will prove useful to research groups concerned with the application of microcantilevers to nanoscience, in particular for cases where maintaining pristine AFM tip condition is critical.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number285704
    Pages (from-to)285704-1-285704-14
    Number of pages14
    Issue number28
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2012


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