In this article, the construction and initial tests of a frictional force microscope are described. The instrument makes use of a microfabricated cantilever that allows one to independently measure the lateral forces in X and Y directions as well as the normal force. We use four fiber-optic interferometers to detect the motion of the sensor in three dimensions. The properties of our cantilevers allow easy and accurate normal and lateral force calibration, making it possible to measure the lateral force on a fully quantitative basis. First experiments on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite demonstrate that the microscope is capable of measuring lateral forces with a resolution down to 15 pN.
Rev. Sci. Instrum.

Dienwiebel, M., de Kuyper, E., Crama, L., Frenken, J. W. M., Heimberg, J. A., Spaanderman, D.-J., … van der Drift, E. (2005). Design and performance of a high-resolution frictional force microscope with quantitative three-dimensional force sensitivity. Rev. Sci. Instrum., 76(Article number: 43704), 1–7. doi:10.1063/1.1889233