Nonlinear vibrations in atomic force microscopy

Joseph A. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recent atomic force microscopy research has focused on dynamical methods in which AFM probes are vibrated while in contact with a specimen during scanning. The nonlinear tip-sample interactions can induce nonlinear features into the dynamic response. Nonlinear responses observed experimentally include the DC shift (or lift-off) and primary response softening as well as the development of subharmonics and superharmonics. Here, this problem is formulated in terms of a nonlinear boundary value problem which is solved using the method of multiple scales. The main result of this analysis is the amplitude-frequency relation for all vibration modes. The nonlinear normal modes are comprised of terms representing the softening effect of the resonance, the static offset, and harmonics. The softening effect on the primary response is shown to be a function of the particular vibration mode as expected. The contact mechanics model used here is restricted to Hertzian contact, but can be generalized to more complex models. Results of the primary response for various excitations are presented. The amplitude-frequency behavior is dependent on the linear contact stiffness, the forcing amplitude, and contact damping. It is also shown that the modes have a differing sensitivity to the nonlinearities present in the contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-84
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
EventNondestuctive Evaluation and Reliability of Micro- and Nanomaterial Systems - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 18 2002Mar 19 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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