In situ hydrodynamic lateral force calibration of AFM colloidal probes

Sangjin Ryu, Christian Franck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Lateral force microscopy (LFM) is an application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to sense lateral forces applied to the AFM probe tip. Recent advances in tissue engineering and functional biomaterials have shown a need for the surface characterization of their material and biochemical properties under the application of lateral forces. LFM equipped with colloidal probes of well-defined tip geometries has been a natural fit to address these needs but has remained limited to provide primarily qualitative results. For quantitative measurements, LFM requires the successful determination of the lateral force or torque conversion factor of the probe. Usually, force calibration results obtained in air are used for force measurements in liquids, but refractive index differences between air and liquids induce changes in the conversion factor. Furthermore, in the case of biochemically functionalized tips, damage can occur during calibration because tip-surface contact is inevitable in most calibration methods. Therefore, a nondestructive in situ lateral force calibration is desirable for LFM applications in liquids. Here we present an in situ hydrodynamic lateral force calibration method for AFM colloidal probes. In this method, the laterally scanned substrate surface generated a creeping Couette flow, which deformed the probe under torsion. The spherical geometry of the tip enabled the calculation of tip drag forces, and the lateral torque conversion factor was calibrated from the lateral voltage change and estimated torque. Comparisons with lateral force calibrations performed in air show that the hydrodynamic lateral force calibration method enables quantitative lateral force measurements in liquid using colloidal probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13390-13399
Number of pages10
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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