Experimental demonstration of pitfalls and remedies for precise force deconvolution in frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy

30 Jan 2020  ·  Huber Ferdinand, Giessibl Franz J. ·

Frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy provides an outstanding precision of the measurement of chemical bonding forces. However, as the cantilever oscillates with an amplitude A that is usually on the order of atomic dimensions or even larger, blurring occurs... To extract a force versus distance curve from an experimental frequency versus distance spectrum, a deconvolution algorithm to recover the force from the experimental frequency shift is required. It has been recently shown that this deconvolution can be an ill-posed inversion problem causing false force-distance curves. Whether an inversion problem is well- or ill-posed is determined by two factors: the shape of the force-distance curve and the oscillation amplitude used for the measurement. A proper choice of the oscillation amplitude as proposed by the in ection point test of Sader et al. [Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 1088 (2018)] should avoid ill-posedness. Here, we experimentally validate their in ection point test by means of two experimental data sets: force-distance spectra over a single carbon monoxide molecule as well as a Fe trimer on Cu(111) measured with a set of deliberately chosen amplitudes. Furthermore, we comment on typical pitfalls which are caused by the discrete nature of experimental data and provide MATLAB code which can be used by everyone to perform this test with their own data. read more

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Materials Science