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Atomistic simulations considering larger tip structures than hitherto assumed reveal novel dissipation mechanisms in noncontact atomic force microscopy. The potential energy surfaces of realistic silicon tips exhibit many energetically close local minima that correspond to different structures. Most of them easily deform, thus causing dissipation arising from hysteresis in force versus distance characteristics. Furthermore, saddle points which connect local minima can suddenly switch to connectdoi:10.1103/physrevlett.100.236106 pmid:18643523 fatcat:nf5mcn2a6vfaxk7qzeiwmby2me