Scanning Microscopy


This paper deals with the ability of scanning force microscopy to determine contact forces of various materials. Indeed, with high spring constants at low relative humidity, the nature of the material can be determined by measurement of the contact force as the tip approaches. Cantilevers with a high spring constant are used to achieve solid-solid contact for the tip-sample system. The capillary force estimation provides information on the development of the height of the water meniscus formed between the tip and different surfaces depending on the relative humidity. Finally, we focus our attention on measurements of moduli of elasticity which vary with the physicochemical processes (precipitation, dissolution, water intercalation, dehydration) instigated by the variation in humidity. All experiments were conducted on various surfaces: more extensively on gypsum, but also on calcite, mica, graphite, brucite, aluminum, silver and glass.

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