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1.  Impact of thermal frequency drift on highest precision force microscopy using quartz-based force sensors at low temperatures 
In frequency modulation atomic force microscopy (FM-AFM) the stability of the eigenfrequency of the force sensor is of key importance for highest precision force measurements. Here, we study the influence of temperature changes on the resonance frequency of force sensors made of quartz, in a temperature range from 4.8–48 K. The sensors are based on the qPlus and length extensional principle. The frequency variation with temperature T for all sensors is negative up to 30 K and on the order of 1 ppm/K, up to 13 K, where a distinct kink appears, it is linear. Furthermore, we characterize a new type of miniaturized qPlus sensor and confirm the theoretically predicted reduction in detector noise.
PMCID: PMC3999743  PMID: 24778967
AFM; frequency drift; length extensional resonator; needle sensor; qPlus sensor; quartz
2.  Analysis of force-deconvolution methods in frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy 
In frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy the direct observable is the frequency shift of an oscillating cantilever in a force field. This frequency shift is not a direct measure of the actual force, and thus, to obtain the force, deconvolution methods are necessary. Two prominent methods proposed by Sader and Jarvis (Sader–Jarvis method) and Giessibl (matrix method) are investigated with respect to the deconvolution quality. Both methods show a nontrivial dependence of the deconvolution quality on the oscillation amplitude. The matrix method exhibits spikelike features originating from a numerical artifact. By interpolation of the data, the spikelike features can be circumvented. The Sader–Jarvis method has a continuous amplitude dependence showing two minima and one maximum, which is an inherent property of the deconvolution algorithm. The optimal deconvolution depends on the ratio of the amplitude and the characteristic decay length of the force for the Sader–Jarvis method. However, the matrix method generally provides the higher deconvolution quality.
PMCID: PMC3323913  PMID: 22496997
frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy; force deconvolution; numerical implementation
3.  qPlus magnetic force microscopy in frequency-modulation mode with millihertz resolution 
Magnetic force microscopy (MFM) allows one to image the domain structure of ferromagnetic samples by probing the dipole forces between a magnetic probe tip and a magnetic sample. The magnetic domain structure of the sample depends on the alignment of the individual atomic magnetic moments. It is desirable to be able to image both individual atoms and domain structures with a single probe. However, the force gradients of the interactions responsible for atomic contrast and those causing domain contrast are orders of magnitude apart, ranging from up to 100 Nm−1 for atomic interactions down to 0.0001 Nm−1 for magnetic dipole interactions. Here, we show that this gap can be bridged with a qPlus sensor, with a stiffness of 1800 Nm−1 (optimized for atomic interaction), which is sensitive enough to measure millihertz frequency contrast caused by magnetic dipole–dipole interactions. Thus we have succeeded in establishing a sensing technique that performs scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy and MFM with a single probe.
PMCID: PMC3304324  PMID: 22428108
hard disc; high-stiffness cantilever; magnetic force microscopy; qPlus

Results 1-3 (3)