A method for calibrating the dynamic torsional spring constant of cantilevers by directly measuring the thermally driven motion of the cantilever with an interferometer is presented. Random errors in calibration were made negligible (<1%) by averaging over multiple measurements. The errors in accuracy of ±5% or ±10% for both of the cantilevers calibrated in this study were limited only by the accuracy of the laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) used to measure thermal fluctuations. This is a significant improvement over commonly used methods that result in large and untraceable errors resulting from assumptions made about the cantilever geometry, material properties, and/or hydrodynamic physics of the surroundings. Subsequently, the static torsional spring constant is determined from its dynamic counterpart after careful LDV measurements of the torsional mode shape, backed by finite element analysis simulations. A meticulously calibrated cantilever is used in a friction force microscopy experiment that measures the friction difference and interfacial shear strength (ISS) between graphene and a silicon dioxide AFM probe. Accurate calibration can resolve discrepancies between different experimental methods, which have contributed to a large scatter in the reported friction and ISS values in the literature to date.

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This equation was derived by equating the strain energy integrals of both mode shapes to the respective stiffnesses by the equipartition theorem and then taking the ratio of both equations. Combining both equations into a single one is valid because both mode shapes share the same coordinate system.

51.

At small amplitudes, the digital-to-analog digitization of the cantilever deflection signal by the Polytec LDV causes a bias in the estimation of the overall thermal fluctuations measured by the Cypher AFM electronics.

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