ACS nano

Mapping Elastic Properties of Heterogeneous Materials in Liquid with Angstrom-Scale Resolution.

PMID 28770996


Fast quantitative mapping of mechanical properties with nanoscale spatial resolution represents one of the major goals of force microscopy. This goal becomes more challenging when the characterization needs to be accomplished with subnanometer resolution in a native environment that involves liquid solutions. Here we demonstrate that bimodal atomic force microscopy enables the accurate measurement of the elastic modulus of surfaces in liquid with a spatial resolution of 3 Å. The Young's modulus can be determined with a relative error below 5% over a 5 orders of magnitude range (1 MPa to 100 GPa). This range includes a large variety of materials from proteins to metal-organic frameworks. Numerical simulations validate the accuracy of the method. About 30 s is needed for a Young's modulus map with subnanometer spatial resolution.