Mapping the Stiffness of Nanomaterials and Thin Films by Acoustic AFM Techniques Chapter uri icon


  • The determination of the stiffness of nanomaterials is essential to understanding their response to force and for the successful integration of these materials into devices. In this chapter we review acoustic atomic force microscope (AFM) techniques that are used to map the stiffness distribution of nanomaterials and thin films nondestructively and with high lateral resolution. We focus on three acoustic AFM techniques: force modulation microscopy (FMM), ultrasonic force microscopy (UFM), and contact resonance atomic force microscopy (CR-AFM). We explain the basics of the AFM tipsurface contact mechanics, the theoretical background of each acoustic AFM method, its use to determine the stiffness properties of nanomaterials and thin films, and its limitation. The techniques we discuss have been used to characterize the mechanical properties of a broad range of nanomaterials and thin films, including self-assembled monolayers, thin polymer films, nanocomposites, and biomaterials.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zauscher, S., Parlak, Z., & Tu, Q.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Zauscher, Stefan||Parlak, Zehra||Tu, Qing

editor list (cited editors)

  • Bhushan, B., Luo, D., Schricker, S. R., Sigmund, W., & Zauscher, S.

Book Title


publication date

  • January 2014