Probing nano-scale viscoelastic response in air and in liquid with dynamic atomic force microscopy
We perform a comparative study of dynamic force measurements using an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) on the same soft polymer blend samples in both air and liquid environments. Our quantitative analysis starts with calibration of the same cantilever in both environments. Intermodulation AFM (ImAFM) is used to measure dynamic force quadratures on the same sample. We validate the accuracy of the reconstructed dynamic force quadratures by numerical simulation of a realistic model of the cantilever in liquid. In spite of the very low quality factor of this resonance, we find excellent agreement between experiment and simulation. A recently developed moving surface model explains the measured force quadrature curves on the soft polymer, in both air and liquid.