We have previously shown that, for non-adhesive conditions, an atomic scale contact can be adequately represented by a continuum analysis despite the physical shortcomings at this scale. Here we have extended the approach to include effects of the adhesive forces that become significant at this level of contact. Adhesive forces are obtained directly from the surface separation across the contact rather than through a total surface energy approach; this allows a complete representation of local surface features. The pull-off characteristics and pressure profiles have been obtained for several different atomistic AFM tip profiles and compared to those obtained from molecular dynamics simulations presented in the literature [1].

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