Near-field deformation of a liquid interface by atomic force microscopy
AbstractWe experiment the interaction between a liquid puddle and a spherical probe by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for a probe radius R ranging from 10 nm to 30 μm. We have developed a new experimental setup by coupling an AFM with a high-speed camera and an inverted optical microscope. Interaction force-distance curves (in contact mode) and frequency shift–distance curves (in frequency modulation mode) are measured for different bulk model liquids for which the probe-liquid Hamaker constant Hpl is known. The experimental results, analyzed in the frame of the theoretical model developed in Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 106104 (2012)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.108.106104 and Phys. Rev. E 85, 061602 (2012)PLEEE81539-375510.1103/PhysRevE.85.061602, allow to determine the “jump-to-contact” critical distance dmin below which the liquid jumps and wets the probe. Comparison between theory and experiments shows that the probe-liquid interaction at nanoscale is controlled by the liquid interface deformation. This work shows a very good agreement between the theoretical model and the experiments and paves the way to experimental studies of liquids at the nanoscale.