Scanning probe microscopy has enabled nanoscale mapping of mechanical properties in important technological materials, such as tissues, biomaterials, polymers, nanointerfaces of composite materials, to name only a few. To improve and widen the measurement of nanoscale mechanical properties, a number of methods have been proposed to overcome the widely used force-displacement mode, that is inherently slow and limited to a quasi-static regime, mainly using multiple sinusoidal excitations of the sample base or of the cantilever. Here, a different approach is put forward. It exploits the unique capabilities of the wavelet transform analysis to harness the information encoded in a short duration spectroscopy experiment. It is based on an impulsive excitation of the cantilever and a single impact of the tip with the sample. It performs well in highly damped environments, which are often seen as problematic in other standard dynamic methods. Our results are very promising in terms of viscoelastic property discrimination. Their potential is oriented (but not limited) to samples that demand imaging in liquid native environments and also to highly vulnerable samples whose compositional mapping cannot be obtained through standard tapping imaging techniques.
- Applied mathematics
- Scanning probe microscopy