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Published October 1, 1992 | public
Journal Article Open

Hardware for digitally controlled scanned probe microscopes


The design and implementation of a flexible and modular digital control and data acquisition system for scanned probe microscopes (SPMs) is presented. The measured performance of the system shows it to be capable of 14-bit data acquisition at a 100-kHz rate and a full 18-bit output resolution resulting in less than 0.02-Å rms position noise while maintaining a scan range in excess of 1 µm in both the X and Y dimensions. This level of performance achieves the goal of making the noise of the microscope control system an insignificant factor for most experiments. The adaptation of the system to various types of SPM experiments is discussed. Advances in audio electronics and digital signal processors have made the construction of such high performance systems possible at low cost.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1992 American Institute of Physics. Received 18 March 1992; accepted 23 June 1992. The authors would like to thank Jean-Paul Revel for a critical reading of the manuscript. Financial support for this work was provided by Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the National Institutes of Health Training Grant GM07617 (S.M.C.), the Ford Motor Company, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship (D.R.B.). The authors will gladly supply more detailed documentation to interested readers.


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