The modal decomposition of tapping mode atomic force microscopy microcantilevers in liquid environments was studied experimentally. Microcantilevers with different lengths and stiffnesses and two sample surfaces with different elastic moduli were used in the experiment. The response modes of the microcantilevers were extracted as proper orthogonal modes through proper orthogonal decomposition. Smooth orthogonal decomposition was used to estimate the resonance frequency directly. The effects of the tapping setpoint and the elastic modulus of the sample under test were examined in terms of their multi-mode responses with proper orthogonal modes, proper orthogonal values, smooth orthogonal modes and smooth orthogonal values. Regardless of the stiffness of the microcantilever under test, the first mode was dominant in tapping mode atomic force microscopy under normal operating conditions. However, at lower tapping setpoints, the flexible microcantilever showed modal distortion and noise near the tip when tapping on a hard sample. The stiff microcantilever had a higher mode effect on a soft sample at lower tapping setpoints. Modal decomposition for tapping mode atomic force microscopy can thus be used to estimate the characteristics of samples in liquid environments.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.