Atomic force acoustic microscopy: Influence of the lateral contact stiffness on the elastic measurements

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Atomic force acoustic microscopy is a dynamic technique where the resonances of a cantilever, that has its tip in contact with the sample, are used to quantify local elastic properties of surfaces. Since the contact resonance frequencies (CRFs) monotonically increase with the tip-sample contact stiffness, they are used to evaluate the local elastic properties of the surfaces through a suitable contact mechanical model. The CRFs depends on both, normal and lateral contact stiffness, kN and kS respectively, where the last one is taken either as constant (kS < 1), or as zero, leading to uncertainty in the estimation of the elastic properties of composite materials. In this work, resonance spectra for free and contact vibration were used in a finite element analysis of cantilevers to show the influence of kS in the resonance curves due to changes in the kS/kN ratio. These curves have regions for the different vibrational modes that are both, strongly and weakly dependent on kS, and they can be used in a selective manner to obtain a precise mapping of elastic properties.

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