Indirect identification and compensation of lateral scanner resonances in atomic force microscopes

  • Burns D
  • Youcef-Toumi K
  • Fantner G
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Improving the imaging speed of atomic force microscopy (AFM) requires accurate nanopositioning at high speeds. However, high speed operation excites resonances in the AFM's mechanical scanner that can distort the image, and therefore typical users of commercial AFMs elect to operate microscopes at speeds below which scanner resonances are observed. Although traditional robust feedforward controllers and input shaping have proven effective at minimizing the influence of scanner distortions, the lack of direct measurement and use of model-based controllers have required disassembling the microscope to access lateral scanner motion with external sensors in order to perform a full system identification experiment, which places excessive demands on routine microscope operators. Further, since the lightly damped instrument dynamics often change from experiment to experiment, model-based controllers designed from offline system identification experiments must trade off high speed performance for robustness to modeling errors. This work represents a new way to automatically characterize the lateral scanner dynamics without addition of lateral sensors, and shape the commanded input signals in such a way that disturbing dynamics are not excited. Scanner coupling between the lateral and out-of-plane directions is exploited and used to build a minimal model of the scanner that is also sufficient to describe the nature of the distorting resonances. This model informs the design of an online input shaper used to suppress spectral components of the high speed command signals. The method presented is distinct from alternative approaches in that neither an information-complete system identification experiment nor microscope modification are required. Because the system identification is performed online immediately before imaging, no tradeoff of performance is required. This approach has enabled an increase in the scan rates of unmodified commercial AFMs from 1-4 lines s(-1) to over 40 lines s(-1).

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