In this paper, we present a new contact resonance atomic force microscopy based method utilizing a square, plate-like microsensor to accurately estimate viscoelastic sample properties. A theoretical derivation, based on Rayleigh-Ritz method and on an “unconventional” generalized eigenvalue problem, is presented and a numerical experiment is devised to verify the method. We present an updated sensitivity criterion that allows users, given a set of measured in-contact eigenfrequencies and modal damping ratios, to select the best eigenfrequency for accurate data estimation. The verification results are then presented and discussed. Results show that the proposed method performs extremely well in the identification of viscoelastic properties over broad ranges of non-dimensional sample stiffness and damping values.

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