Microcantilevers : calibration of their spring constants and use as ultrasensitive probes of adsorbed mass
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The dynamic properties of several rectangular and V-shaped microcantilevers were investigated. Particular attention was paid to the higher flexural eigenmodes of oscillation. The potential of the higher flexural modes was demonstrated through the use of cantilevers as standalone sensors for adsorbed mass. The mass adsorbed on the surface of a cantilever was in the form of a homogeneous water layer measured as a function of relative humidity. The minimum detectable water layer thicknesses were 13.7 Å, 3.2 Å, 1.1 Å, and 0.7 Å for the first four modes of a rectangular cantilever, clearly demonstrating enhanced accuracy for the higher eigenmodes of oscillation. These thicknesses correspond to minimum detectable masses of 33.5 pg, 7.8 pg, 2.7 pg and 1.7 pg for the first four modes. For quantitative applications the spring constants of each cantilever must be determined. Many methods exist but only a small number can calibrate the higher flexural eigenmodes. A method was developed to simultaneously calibrate all flexural modes of microcantilever sensors. The method was demonstrated for the first four eigenmodes of several rectangular and V-shaped cantilevers with nominal fundamental spring constants in the range of 0.03 to 1.75 N/m. The spring constants were determined with accuracies of 5-10 %. Spring constants of the fundamental mode were generally in agreement with those determined using the Sader method. The method is compatible with existing AFM systems. It relies on a flow of gas from a microchannel and as such poses no risk of damage to the cantilever beam, its tip, or any coating. A related method was developed for the torsional modes of oscillation. Preliminary results are shown for the fundamental mode of a rectangular cantilever. The method can be easily extended to the higher torsional modes, V-shaped cantilevers, and potentially, the flapping modes of the legs of V-shaped microcantilevers.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Description of related resourcesJ.D. Parkin and G. Hahner. Mass determination and sensitivity based on resonance frequency changes of the higher flexural modes of microcantilever sensors. Review of Scientifc Instruments, 82:035108, 2011.
J.D. Parkin and G. Hahner. Determination of the spring constants of the higher flexural modes of microcantilever sensors. Nanotechnology, 24:065704, 2013.
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