In tapping mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) the highly nonlinear tip-sample interaction gives rise to a complicated dynamics of the microcantilever. Apart from the well-known bistability under typical imaging conditions the system exhibits a complex dynamics at small average tip-sample distances, which are typical operation conditions for mechanical dynamic nanomanipulation. In order to investigate the dynamics at small average tip sample gaps experimental time series data are analysed employing nonlinear analysis tools and spectral analysis. The correlation dimension is computed together with a bifurcation diagram. By using statistical correlation measures such as the Kullback-Leibler distance, cross-correlation and mutual information the dataset can be segmented into different regimes. The analysis reveals period-3, period-2 and period-4 behaviour, as well as a weakly chaotic regime.
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