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Multi-actuation and PI control: A simple recipe for high-speed and large-range atomic force microscopy

DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2014.07.010
  • Multi-Actuation
  • Dual Actuation
  • Resonance Compensation
  • Dynamics Compensation
  • High-Speed Afm Imaging
  • Data-Based Control Design


Abstract High speed atomic force microscopy enables observation of dynamic nano-scale processes. However, maintaining a minimal interaction force between the sample and the probe is challenging at high speed specially when using conventional piezo-tubes. While rigid AFM scanners are operational at high speeds with the drawback of reduced tracking range, multi-actuation schemes have shown potential for high-speed and large-range imaging. Here we present a method to seamlessly incorporate additional actuators into conventional AFMs. The equivalent behavior of the resulting multi-actuated setup resembles that of a single high-speed and large-range actuator with maximally flat frequency response. To achieve this, the dynamics of the individual actuators and their couplings are treated through a simple control scheme. Upon the implementation of the proposed technique, commonly used PI controllers are able to meet the requirements of high-speed imaging. This forms an ideal platform for retroactive enhancement of existing AFMs with minimal cost and without compromise on the tracking range. A conventional AFM with tube scanner is retroactively enhanced through the proposed method and shows an order of magnitude improvement in closed loop bandwidth performance while maintaining large range. The effectiveness of the method is demonstrated on various types of samples imaged in contact and tapping modes, in air and in liquid.

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