Spring constant calibration of the atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever is of fundamental importance for quantifying the force between the AFM cantilever tip and the sample. The calibration within the framework of thin plate theory undoubtedly has a higher accuracy and broader scope than that within the well-established beam theory. However, thin plate theory-based accurate analytic determination of the constant has been perceived as an extremely difficult issue. In this paper, we implement the thin plate theory-based analytic modeling for the static behavior of rectangular AFM cantilevers, which reveals that the three-dimensional effect and Poisson effect play important roles in accurate determination of the spring constants. A quantitative scaling law is found that the normalized spring constant depends only on the Poisson's ratio, normalized dimension and normalized load coordinate. Both the literature and our refined finite element model validate the present results. The developed model is expected to serve as the benchmark for accurate calibration of rectangular AFM cantilevers.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 11302038, 11572323 and 11302037) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (grant DUT15LK14). Y.S. acknowledges the support from Chinese Academy of Sciences via the "Hundred Talent program".
[Li, Rui; Ye, Hongfei; Zhang, Weisheng; Ma, Guojun] Dalian Univ Technol, Dept Engn Mech, State Key Lab Struct Anal Ind Equipment, Dalian 116024, Peoples R China; [Li, Rui] Huazhong Univ Sci & Technol, State Key Lab Digital Mfg Equipment & Technol, Wuhan 430074, Peoples R China; [Su, Yewang] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Mech, State Key Lab Nonlinear Mech, Beijing 100190, Peoples R China; [Su, Yewang] Northwestern Univ, Dept Civil & Environm Engn, Evanston, IL 60208 USA; [Su, Yewang] Northwestern Univ, Dept Mech Engn, Evanston, IL 60208 USA