A method to provide rapid in situ determination of tip radius in dynamic atomic force microscopy

Sergio Santos*, Li Guang, Tewfik Souier, Karim Gadelrab, Matteo Chiesa, Neil H. Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


We provide a method to characterize the tip radius of an atomic force microscopy in situ by monitoring the dynamics of the cantilever in ambient conditions. The key concept is that the value of free amplitude for which transitions from the attractive to repulsive force regimes are observed, strongly depends on the curvature of the tip. In practice, the smaller the value of free amplitude required to observe a transition, the sharper the tip. This general behavior is remarkably independent of the properties of the sample and cantilever characteristics and shows the strong dependence of the transitions on the tip radius. The main advantage of this method is rapid in situ characterization. Rapid in situ characterization enables one to continuously monitor the tip size during experiments. Further, we show how to reproducibly shape the tip from a given initial size to any chosen larger size. This approach combined with the in situ tip size monitoring enables quantitative comparison of materials measurements between samples. These methods are set to allow quantitative data acquisition and make direct data comparison readily available in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043707
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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