Seung-ho Moon and Mark D. Foster

Maurice Morton Institute of Polymer Science, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA

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Summary: The measurement of lateral force in response to small amplitude lateral oscillations of a sample using a scanning probe microscope (X-modulation) is presented as an effective means of identifying key qualitative differences in the nanomechanical behavior of solid surfaces. To study the surface behavior in detail, it is critical that the instrument have sufficient flexibility. Computer-assisted measurement automation achieved using LabVIEWTM makes an X-modulation experiment more flexible and convenient. Even though further refinement of the modulation technique is necessary in both theory and experiment to obtain a complete picture, the systematic approach made possible by this sort of instrumentation is valuable for the study of mechanical properties of the surface.

Key words: scanning probe microscope, X-modulation, nanomechanics, stick-slip, LabVIEWTM

PACS: 01.50.Lc, 07.79.-v, 07.79.Sp, 61.82.Pv, 73.63.Rt