SPMW The Nanomechanics of compositional mapping in amplitude modulation AFM

By Ricardo Garcia

Instituto de Microelectrónica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Published on


Amplitude modulation atomic force microscopy (AM-AFM) has been very successful for imaging with high spatial resolution inorganic as well as soft materials such as polymers, living cells and single biomolecules in their natural environment [1]. The ability of AM-AFM to separate topography from compositional contrast is probably one its main advantages. Compositional mapping is achieved by recording simultaneously the oscillation amplitude and the phase lag between the external excitation of a vibrating tip and its response in the vicinity of the surface. The phase shift is related to the local energy dissipation on the surface [2-3].

The qualitative advantages of phase imaging were recognized and exploited since its beginnings, however, quantitative measurements of material properties has been hampered by the complex dynamics of amplitude modulation AFM. This is about to change because a wave of different contributions are shedding light into the relationship between non-linear dynamics, forces and energy dissipation processes during the tip-surface interaction [4-18].

In this presentation I will present the advances in understanding the nanomechanics of high resolution compositional mapping by AM-AFM as well as some of its applications.


Professor Ricardo Garcia has been a Research Professor at the Instituto de Microelectrónica de Madrid (CSIC) since 2004. His main scientific goal is the investigation of the fundamental relationship between nanometer-scale structure and physical properties. In particular, he has devoted a large effort to the study of the morphological, mechanical, chemical, tribological and electrical properties of structures at nanometer level. Prof. Garcia has also been actively involved in the fabrication of scanning probe microscopies since 1994. His present research interests emphasize two topics: the understanding of the dynamic properties of a vibrating nanometer-size object and the development of a nanolithographic method for large scale patterning of surfaces in ambient conditions. The method is based on the spatial confinement of a chemical reaction between an AFM tip and the sample surface (Local Oxidation Nanolithography).


  1. R. Garcia, R. Perez, Surf. Sci. Rep. 47, 197 (2002)
  2. J. Tamayo and R. Garcia, Appl. Phys. 71, 2394 (1997)
  3. J.P. Cleveland et al. Appl. Phys. Lett. 72, 2613 (1998)
  4. M. Stark , C. Möller, D.J. Müller and R. Guckenberger, Biophys. J. 80 3009 (2001)
  5. M. S. Marcus et al. , Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 226103 (2002)
  6. M. Balantekin and A. Atalar, Phys. Rev. B67, 193404 (2003)
  7. B. Bhusham and J. Qi, Nanotechnology 14, 886 (2003)
  8. H. Bodiguel, H. Montes and C. Fretigny, Rev. Sci. Intrum. 75, 2529 (2004)
  9. T.R. Rodriguez and R. Garcia, Appl. Phys. Lett. 449, 84 (2004)
  10. R.W. Stark et al., Phys. Rev. B69, 085412 (2004)
  11. P. Martin et al., Nanotechnology 16 901(2005)
  12. P.D. Ashby and C.M. Lieber, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 6814 (2005)
  13. N. Rehse, S. Marr, S. Scherdel, and R. Magerle, Adv. Mater. 17, 2203 (2005)
  14. W. Wu, K. Matyjaszewski, and T. Kowalewski, Langmuir 21, 1143 (2005)
  15. A. Schirmeisen and H. Hölscher, Phys. Rev. B72, 045431 (2005)
  16. S. Crittenden, A. Raman and R. Reifenberger, Phys. Rev. B72, 235422 (2005)
  17. S. Hu and A. Raman, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 036107 (2006)
  18. N.F. Martinez and R. Garcia, Nanotechnology 17, S167 (2006)

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Ricardo Garcia (2007), "SPMW The Nanomechanics of compositional mapping in amplitude modulation AFM," http://nanohub.org/resources/2176.

    BibTex | EndNote



Burton Morgan Building, Room 121