Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


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Copyright 2016 AIP Publishing LLC


Recent approaches used to characterize the elastic or viscoelastic properties of materials with nanoscale resolution have focused on the contact resonances of atomic force microscope (CR-AFM) probes. The experiments for these CR-AFM methods involve measurement of several contact resonances from which the resonant frequency and peak width are found. The contact resonance values are then compared with the noncontact values in order for the sample properties to be evaluated. The data analysis requires vibration models associated with the probe during contact in order for the beam response to be deconvolved from the measured spectra. To date, the majority of CR-AFM research has used rectangular probes that have a relatively simple vibration response. Recently, U-shaped AFM probes have created much interest because they allow local sample heating. However, the vibration response of these probes is much more complex such that CR-AFM is still in its infancy. In this article, a simplified analytical model of U-shaped probes is evaluated for contact resonance applications relative to a more complex finite element (FE) computational model. The tip-sample contact is modeled using three orthogonal Kelvin-Voigt elements such that the resonant frequency and peak width of each mode are functions of the contact conditions. For the purely elastic case, the frequency results of the simple model are within 8% of the FE model for the lowest six modes over a wide range of contact stiffness values. Results for the viscoelastic contact problem for which the quality factor of the lowest six modes is compared show agreement to within 13%. These results suggest that this simple model can be used effectively to evaluate CRAFM experimental results during AFM scanning such that quantitative mapping of viscoelastic properties may be possible using U-shaped probes.