A lateral force microscopy (LFM) calibration technique utilizing a random low-profile surface is proposed that is successfully employed in the low-load non-linear frictional regime using a single layer of graphene on a supporting oxide substrate. This calibration at low loads and on low friction surfaces like graphene has the benefit of helping to limit the wear of the LFM tip during the calibration procedure. Moreover, the low-profiles of the calibration surface characteristic of these layered 2D materials, on standard polished oxide substrates, result in a nearly constant frictional, adhesive, and elastic response as the tip slides over the surface, making the determination of the calibration coefficient robust. Through a detailed calibration analysis that takes into account non-linear frictional response, it is found that the adhesion is best described by a nearly constant vertical orientation, rather than the more commonly encountered normally directed adhesion, as the single asperity passes over the low-profile graphene-coated oxide surface.

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Published in Review of Scientific Instruments, v. 89, issue 11, 113902, p. 1-9.

© 2018 Author(s)

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This article appeared in Review of Scientific Instruments, v. 89, issue 11, 113902, p. 1-9 and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5044727.

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The work was supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) Condensed Matter Physics (CMP) and EPSCoR programs through Grant No. 0000223282, with additional coordinated funds from the Kentucky EPSCoR Program through the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC).