Force reconstruction from tapping mode force microscopy experiments

Amir Farokh Payam, Daniel Martinez-Jimenez, Ricardo Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
241 Downloads (Pure)


Fast, accurate, and robust nanomechanical measurements are intensely studied in materials science, applied physics, and molecular biology. Amplitude modulation force microscopy (tapping mode) is the most established nanoscale characterization technique of surfaces for air and liquid environments. However, its quantitative capabilities lag behind its high spatial resolution and robustness. We develop a general method to transform the observables into quantitative force measurements. The force reconstruction algorithm has been deduced on the assumption that the observables (amplitude and phase shift) are slowly varying functions of the tip–surface separation. The accuracy and applicability of the method is validated by numerical simulations and experiments. The method is valid for liquid and air environments, small and large free amplitudes, compliant and rigid materials, and conservative and non-conservative forces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 16 Apr 2015


  • force microscopy
  • tapping mode AFM
  • force reconstruction


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