Tailored Microcantilever Optimization for Multifrequency Force Microscopy

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Microcantilevers are at the heart of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and play a significant role in AFM‐based techniques. Recent advancements in multifrequency AFM require the simultaneous excitation and detection of multiple eigenfrequencies of microcantilevers to assess more data channels to quantify the material properties. However, to achieve higher spatiotemporal resolution there is a need to optimize the structure of microcantilevers. In this study, the architecture of the cantilever with gold nanoparticles using a dip‐coating method is modified, aiming to tune the higher eigenmodes of the microcantilever as integer multiples of its fundamental frequency. Through the theoretical methodology and simulative model, that integer harmonics improve the coupling in multifrequency AFM measurements is demonstrated, leading to enhanced image quality and resolution. Furthermore, via the combined theoretical‐experimental approach, the interplay between induced mass and stiffness change of the modified cantilever depending on the attached particle location, size, mass, and geometry is found. To validate the results of this predictive model, tapping‐mode AFM is utilized and bimodal Amplitude Modulation AFM techniques to examine and quantify the impact of tuning higher‐order eigenmodes on the imaging quality of a polystyrene‐polymethylmethacrylate (PS‐PMMA) block co‐polymer assembly deposited on a glass slide and Highly Ordered Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG).
Original languageEnglish
Article number2303476
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number33
Early online date22 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 22 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Department for the Economy (DfE), Northern Ireland through US‐Ireland R&D partnership grant No. USI 186.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • eigenfrequency
  • atomic force microscopy
  • dip‐coating
  • harmonics
  • microcantilever
  • dip-coating


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