Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Uncertainty quantification in nanomechanical measurements using the atomic force microscope

Source: Nanotechnology

Author(s)Wagner, Ryan; Moon, Robert; Pratt, Jon; Shaw, Gordon; Raman, Arvind

Publication Year: 2011  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4707-3A

Abstract: Quantifying uncertainty in measured properties of nanomaterials is a prerequisite for the manufacture of reliable nanoengineered materials and products. Yet, rigorous uncertainty quantification (UQ) is rarely applied for material property measurements with the atomic force microscope (AFM), a widely used instrument that can measure properties at nanometer scale resolution of both inorganic and biological surfaces and nanomaterials. We present a framework to ascribe uncertainty to local nanomechanical properties of any nanoparticle or surface measured with the AFM by taking into account the main uncertainty sources inherent in such measurements. We demonstrate the framework by quantifying uncertainty in AFM-based measurements of the transverse elastic modulus of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), an abundant, plant-derived nanomaterial whose mechanical properties are comparable to Kevlar fibers. For a single, isolated CNC the transverse elastic modulus was found to have a mean of 8.1 GPa and a 95% confidence interval of 2.7–20 GPa. A key result is that multiple replicates of force–distance curves do not sample the important sources of uncertainty, which are systematic in nature. The dominant source of uncertainty is the nondimensional photodiode sensitivity calibration rather than the cantilever stiffness or Z-piezo calibrations. The results underscore the great need for, and open a path towards, quantifying and minimizing uncertainty in AFM-based material property measurements of nanoparticles, nanostructured surfaces, thin films, polymers and biomaterials.

Keywords: Atomic force microscopy (AFM); Cellulose nanomaterials; CNC; uncertainty quantification; Transverse Elasticity; Mechanical properties

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 669 kb(s)

Date posted: 07/03/2012

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 60257
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Moon, Robert J.
Materials Research Engineer

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »