Quantitative elastic-property information with acoustic AFM: Measurements and modeling

Donna C. Hurley, Joshua S. Wiehn, Joseph A. Turner, Paul Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To investigate nanoscale mechanical behavior, new approaches using dynamic modes of the atomic force microscope cantilever are being developed. One method, atomic force acoustic microscopy (AFAM), measures cantilever resonances in the acoustic-frequency range to obtain elastic-property information. We describe quantitative AFAM measurements and compare them to results from techniques like surface acoustic waves and instrumented indentation. With AFAM we examined a niobium film using two separate calibration samples and two cantilever geometries. Depending on the cantilever type we found MNb=105-114 GPa, in good agreement with literature values of MNb=116-133 GPa for bulk niobium and MNb=120±5 GPa obtained with surface acoustic waves. We also obtained AFAM values of M=54-81 GPa for the indentation modulus of an aluminum film. In comparison, literature values for bulk aluminum are MAl=76-81 GPa, while other results on the same film yielded MAl=78-85 GPa. To understand the results more thoroughly, we compare two methods of AFAM spectrum analysis. The analytical approach assumes a cantilever of uniform rectangular cross-section while the finite element model accounts for spatial variations in cantilever dimensions. The same data are interpreted with the two approaches to better understand measurement uncertainty and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002


  • Atomic force acoustic microscopy
  • Elastic properties
  • Thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantitative elastic-property information with acoustic AFM: Measurements and modeling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this