Imaging elastic properties of soft materials immersed in water using force modulation mode in atomic force microscopy

Hisashi Haga, Shigeo Sasaki, Mayumi Morimoto, Kazushige Kawabata, Etsuro Ito, Kazuhiro Abe, Takashi Sambongi

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Using the force modulation mode in atomic force microscopy (AFM), we have succeeded in imaging elastic properties of agar gels immersed in water. The elastic images of agar have been captured simultaneously with the topographic images. Stiffer grains of agar whose size is about 200 nm can be clearly seen in the elastic image of 3.0% agar, while they are not so visible in the case of 1.5% agar. These grains probably correspond to aggregation of agar which cannot be observed in the topographic images. We also measured force-versus-distance curves using AFM to confirm that the absolute values of elastic modulus (Young's modulus) of agar coincide with the bulk values measured using the conventional stress-strain method. The estimated values of the elastic moduli with the AFM were 40 and 90 kPa for 1.5% and 3.0% agar gels, respectively. These are in good agreement with the respective bulk values of 30 and 80 kPa obtained using the conventional method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3860-3863
Number of pages4
JournalJapanese Journal of Applied Physics, Part 1: Regular Papers and Short Notes and Review Papers
Issue number6 SUPPL. B
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jun
Externally publishedYes



  • Agar gel
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Elastic modulus
  • Force modulation
  • Viscoelastic property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)

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