Lattice gas monte carlo simulation of capillary forces in atomic force microscopy

Joonkyung Jang, George C Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We review recent work concerned with lattice gas (LG) Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of the water meniscus formed between an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip and the surface in contact with the tip. Grand canonical MC simulations were performed to study the meniscus structure and capillary force, and this work allowed us to examine the mechanism of meniscus formation as a function of the tip-surface distance and humidity. It is found that the meniscus becomes unstable when it is narrower than the diameter of the tip-surface contact area. The calculations suggest that the ultimate size limit for a stable meniscus is five molecular diameters. We developed thermodynamic integration and perturbation methods to calculate the capillary force. The magnitude and humidity dependence of capillary force are significantly affected by the hydrophilicity of both the tip and surface. A mean field density functional theory (DFT) closely approximates the capillary forces calculated from the MC simulation. Changing the atomic scale roughness of the tip and surface drastically changes the capillary force. In particular, at low humidity, a slight roughening of the tip or surface leads to a drastic change in the force. The roughness effect persists even at 80% relative humidity. The capillary force is governed by the degree of confinement of the water and, therefore, increases as the free volume between the tip and surface decreases. The humidity dependence of the capillary force depends on the susceptibility of the meniscus width to tip retraction. For strongly hydrophilic tips at high humidity, the susceptibility is small so that the capillary force decreases as the humidity rises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2429-2451
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Adhesion Science and Technology
Volume24
Issue number15-16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2010

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Atomic force microscopy
Atmospheric humidity
Gases
atomic force microscopy
menisci
humidity
gases
simulation
Surface roughness
Water
Free volume
roughness
Hydrophilicity
Monte Carlo simulation
magnetic permeability
Density functional theory
Microscopes
Thermodynamics
water
microscopes

Keywords

  • atomic force microscopy
  • capillary condensation
  • capillary force
  • dip pen nanolithography
  • Lattice gas
  • monte carlo simulation
  • pull-off force
  • water meniscus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces

Cite this

Lattice gas monte carlo simulation of capillary forces in atomic force microscopy. / Jang, Joonkyung; Schatz, George C.

In: Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, Vol. 24, No. 15-16, 01.10.2010, p. 2429-2451.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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