van der waals interactions in force microscopy


  • Thanks are due to H. Lemke for recording the experimental VDW curve. Valuable discussions with C. Heiden are gratefully acknowledged.


Due to its high sensitivity, scanning force microscopy offers the possibility to map minute van der Waals forces between microprobe and sample surface at high spatial resolution. A detailed theoretical analysis confirms that the interactions involved directly reflect near-surface dielectric properties hardly accessible to conventional detection techniques. This opens a new field of application to modern scanned-probe techniques: van der Waals microscopy.