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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2015, Article ID 926594, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of the Tip Size on AFM Cantilever Based Force Sensor

Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Received 31 March 2015; Accepted 27 May 2015

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ferri

Copyright © 2015 Yajing Shen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) cantilever is a widely used end effector for precise force sensing and micro-nanomanipulation at small scale. However, in current researches, the effect of the cantilever tip on the force sensing and manipulation accuracy is rarely considered. In this paper, we investigate how the tip size of the end effector affects the measurement accuracy of the cell adhesion force. First, several end effectors with different tip sizes are fabricated from the same AFM cantilever via focused ion beam (FIB) etching. Then, the single cell detachment force is measured at the same experiment condition by these end effectors, respectively. The results indicate that the sensed adhesion force is susceptible to the tip size of the end effector obviously. In addition, the precision of cell manipulation is also regulated by the contact area between the cell and end effector greatly. These findings will benefit our in-depth understanding on the force interaction at small scale and will provide valid reference for the development of high-precision force sensor and manipulation.