Molecular dynamics simulation of amplitude modulation atomic force microscopy

XL Hu and P Egberts and YL Dong and A Martini, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 26, 235705 (2015).

DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/26/23/235705

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to model amplitude modulation atomic force microscopy (AM-AFM). In this novel simulation, the model AFM tip responds to both tip-substrate interactions and to a sinusoidal excitation signal. The amplitude and phase shift of the tip oscillation observed in the simulation and their variation with tip- sample distance were found to be consistent with previously reported trends from experiments and theory. These simulation results were also fit to an expression enabling estimation of the energy dissipation, which was found to be smaller than that in a corresponding experiment. The difference was analyzed in terms of the effects of tip size and substrate thickness. Development of this model is the first step toward using MD to gain insight into the atomic-scale phenomena that occur during an AM-AFM measurement.

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