, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 597–607 | Cite as

Sliding onset of nanoclusters: a new AFM-based approach

Asperity contacts & lubrication aspects


In the last twenty years the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is become one of the most important instruments to perform characterization at the nanoscale and to achieve direct control of nano-objects. In this paper a quantitative method to estimate the detachment energy of gold spherical nanoclusters with typical diameters of 13, 24 and 42 nm deposited on silicon dioxide and Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) by AFM measures with Amplitude Modulation (AM-AFM) feedback is presented. It is based on the use of AFM tip oscillations to induce clusters detachments and on the substrate mapping with phase signal. With this powerful method is possible to move in a very controlled way nanoparticles selected by dimensions. All experiments have been performed in air conditions using a commercial AFM microscope with cantilevers characterized by nominal spring constants lying between 5 and 50 N/m.


AFM Nanotribology Nanoclusters Manipulation Static friction Nanoparticles 



Atomic Force Microscopy


Amplitude Modulation AFM


Frequency Modulation AFM


Non Contact AFM


Ultra High Vacuum


Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite


Scanning Electron Microscopy


Transmission Electron Microscopy


Friction Force Microscopy


Surface Force Apparatus


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Rovatti
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Paolicelli
    • 2
  • A. Vanossi
    • 3
    • 4
  • S. Valeri
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità degli Studi di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.CNR, Istituto NanoscienzeModenaItaly
  3. 3.International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA)TriesteItaly
  4. 4.CNR-Istituto Officina dei MaterialiTriesteItaly

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