Utilisation of a Two Beam Cantilever Array for Enhanced AFM Sensitivity

[+] Author and Article Information
Samuel Jackson

Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Canterbury Ilam, Christchurch 8041

Stefanie Gutschmidt

Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Canterbury Ilam, Christchurch 8041

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038943 History: Received May 02, 2017; Revised December 09, 2017


An array of cantilevers offers an alternative approach to standard single beam measurement in the context of atomic force microscopy (AFM). In comparison to a single beam, a multi-degrees-of-freedom system offers a greater level of flexibility with regards to parameter selection and tuning. By utilising changes in the system eigenmodes as a feedback signal, it is possible to enhance the sensitivity of AFM to changes in sample topography above what is achievable with standard single beam techniques. In this paper, we analyse a two beam array operated in FM-AFM mode. The array consists of a single active cantilever that is excited with a 90° phase shifted signal and interacts with the sample surface. The active beam is mechanically coupled to a passive beam, which acts to vary the response between synchronised and unsynchronised behaviour. We use a recently developed mathematical model of the coupled cantilever array subjected to nonlinear tip forces to simulate the response of the described system with different levels of coupling. We show that the sensitivity of the frequency feedback signal can be increased significantly in comparison to the frequency feedback from a single beam. This is a novel application for an AFM array that is not present in the literature.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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