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1.  Repulsive bimodal atomic force microscopy on polymers 
Summary
Bimodal atomic force microscopy can provide high-resolution images of polymers. In the bimodal operation mode, two eigenmodes of the cantilever are driven simultaneously. When examining polymers, an effective mechanical contact is often required between the tip and the sample to obtain compositional contrast, so particular emphasis was placed on the repulsive regime of dynamic force microscopy. We thus investigated bimodal imaging on a polystyrene-block-polybutadiene diblock copolymer surface and on polystyrene. The attractive operation regime was only stable when the amplitude of the second eigenmode was kept small compared to the amplitude of the fundamental mode. To clarify the influence of the higher eigenmode oscillation on the image quality, the amplitude ratio of both modes was systematically varied. Fourier analysis of the time series recorded during imaging showed frequency mixing. However, these spurious signals were at least two orders of magnitude smaller than the first two fundamental eigenmodes. Thus, repulsive bimodal imaging of polymer surfaces yields a good signal quality for amplitude ratios smaller than A 01 /A 02 = 10:1 without affecting the topography feedback.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.52
PMCID: PMC3388370  PMID: 23016150
bimodal AFM imaging; diblock copolymer; polybutadiene; polystyrene

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