Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Volume 108, Number 3, May-June 2003. Used by permission.


NIST researchers are developing atomic force acoustic microscopy (AFAM) methods to quantitatively determine the elastic properties of thin films. The AFAM technique measures the frequencies of an atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever’s first two flexural resonances while in contact with a material. The indentation modulus, M, of an unknown or test material can then be obtained by comparing the resonant spectra of the test material to those of a reference material. To examine metrology issues for this emerging technique, AFAM results have been compared with those obtained by other methods, such as instrumented indentation. The results show that better agreement may be achieved by averaging results from two different reference materials, providing better insight into using AFAM methods to attain reliable, accurate measurements of elastic properties on the nanoscale.