In this paper, we study the dynamical behavior of a microcantilever-sample system that forms the basis for the operation of atomic force microscopes (AFM). We model the microcantilever by a single mode approximation and the interaction between the sample and cantilever by a van der Waals (vdW) potential. The cantilever is vibrated by a sinusoidal input, and its deflection is detected optically. We analyze the forced dynamics using Melnikov method, which reveals the region in the space of physical parameters where chaotic motion is possible. In addition, using a proportional and derivative controller we compute the Melnikov function in terms of the parameters of the controller. Using this relation it is possible to design controllers that will remove the possibility of chaos.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partly supported by NSF ECS-9632820, NSF ECS-9733802 and AFOSR F49620-97-1-0168.