The authors describe a method of actuation for atomic force microscope (AFM) probes to improve imaging speed and displacement range simultaneously. Unlike conventional piezoelectric tube actuation, the proposed method involves a lever and fulcrum "seesaw" like actuation mechanism that uses a small, fast piezoelectric transducer. The lever arm of the seesaw mechanism increases the apparent displacement range by an adjustable gain factor, overcoming the standard tradeoff between imaging speed and displacement range. Experimental characterization of a cantilever holder implementing the method is provided together with comparative line scans obtained with contact mode imaging. An imaging bandwidth of 30 kHz in air with the current setup was demonstrated.
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