Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2007


Published in Rev. Sci. Instrum. 78, 043704 2007. © 2007 American Institute of Physics. Used by permission.


The atomic force microscope (AFM) can provide qualitative information by numerous imaging modes, but it can also provide quantitative information when calibrated cantilevers are used. In this article a new technique is demonstrated to calibrate AFM cantilevers using a reference piezolever. Experiments are performed on 13 different commercially available cantilevers. The stiff cantilevers, whose stiffness is more than 0.4 N/m, are compared to the stiffness values measured using nanoindentation. The experimental data collected by the piezolever method is in good agreement with the nanoindentation data. Calibration with a piezolever is fast, easy, and nondestructive and a commercially available AFM is enough to perform the experiments. In addition, the AFM laser must not be calibrated. Calibration is reported here for cantilevers whose stiffness lies between 0.08 and 6.02 N/m.