Nanoscale-resolved elasticity: contact mechanics for quantitative contact resonance atomic force microscopy
Contact resonance atomic force microscopy (CR-AFM) constitutes a powerful approach for nanometer-resolved mechanical characterization of surfaces. Yet, absolute accuracy is frequently impaired by ad hoc assumptions on the dynamic AFM cantilever characteristics as well as contact model. Within the present study, we clarify the detailed interplay of stress fields and geometries for full quantitative understanding, employing combined experimental numerical studies for real AFM probes. Concerning contact description, a two-parameter ansatz is utilized that takes tip geometries and their corresponding indentation moduli into account. Parameter sets obtained upon experimental data fitting for different tip blunting states, are discussed in terms of model-specific artificiality versus real contact physics at the nanoscale. Unveiling the underlying physics in detail, these findings pave the way for accurate characterization of nanomechanical properties with highest resolution.