A simple atomic force microscopy calibration method for direct measurement of surface energy on nanostructured surfaces covered with molecularly thin liquid films

Brunner, Ralf; Etsion, Izhak; Talke, Frank E.
May 2009
Review of Scientific Instruments;May2009, Vol. 80 Issue 5, p055109
Academic Journal
A simple calibration method is described for the determination of surface energy by atomic force microscopy (AFM) pull-off force measurements on nanostructured surfaces covered with molecularly thin liquid films. The method is based on correlating pull-off forces measured in arbitrary units on a nanostructured surface with pull-off forces measured on macroscopically smooth dip-coated gauge surfaces with known surface energy. The method avoids the need for complex calibration of the AFM cantilever stiffness and the determination of the radius of curvature of the AFM tip. Both of the latter measurements are associated with indirect and less accurate measurements of surface energy based on various contact mechanics adhesion models.


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