Dynamics of Vibrating Atomic Force Microscopy

W. van de Water, J. Molenaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


An atomic force microscope which is operated in the oscillating mode is an example of an impact oscillator. The description of such dynamical systems can be reduced to a mathematical mapping, which displays a square-root singularity. A direct consequence of this property is the emergence of an infinite series of period-adding bifurcations. This extremely characteristic phenomenon should be observed in atomic force microscopes. We consider an atomic force microscope in which the tip-substrate forces are modelled by a liquid-bridge interaction. By integrating the dynamical equations we show that the atomic force microscopy (AFM) dynamical behaviour has the same characteristic bifurcation scenario as the square-root map. We point to the remarkable role of the energy that is dissipated upon impact. We finally suggest ways to improve the operation of AFM
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • impact oscillators
  • bifurcations
  • behavior
  • motion


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