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Page 28


www.us- tech.com


June, 2019


Vibration Isolation Platform Adapts to Space Constraints in Micro- and Nano-Microscopy


By Jim McMahon


Laboratory micro- and nano-analysis techniques, such as atomic force mi- croscopy, scanning tunneling mi- croscopy and advanced surface spec- troscopy analysis methods are de- signed to maximize rigidity and mini- mize drift to record accurately. To achieve precise imaging of the


I


composition, chemical makeup and be- havior of these small structures re- quires that microscopy instruments be positioned in an ultra-stable operating environment, one as free as possible of ambient and operational vibrations. Measured signals can be influenced by frequencies ranging from lower than one Hz to 400 Hz. These vibrations can originate


from wind, seismic activity, nearby construction and transportation, ele- vators, pumps, compressors, fans, motors, and air handling equipment for building heating and cooling, and for ventilation and safety in laborato- ries. These sources contribute to am- bient vibration throughout a build- ing’s structure, which is transmitted


maging molecules, materials and interfaces at micro and nanometer sizes is a challenge for microscopy.


through to the sensitive microscopy instrumentation. The vibration is typically more


pronounced when instrumentation is located on higher floors of a building, and when it is positioned closer to the source of the vibration. A number of vibration isolation


systems have been employed to di- minish or eliminate the influence of these vibrations on sensitive mi- croscopy instruments. These solu-


more advanced technologies and ma- terials for higher-precision vibration isolation at low frequencies.


Adaptable Vibration Isolation Just as the nature of micro- and


nanometer-level research necessi- tates a higher precision of low-fre- quency vibration isolation than what has been previously available with traditional techniques, so has this need demanded vibration isolation


site their instrumentation in a multi- tude of locations where vibration noise is significant. Scanning probe microscopes, interferometers and stylus profilers are being set up in lo- cations that pose a serious challenge to vibration isolation. Consequently, many academic and commercial re- search laboratories are not only inad- equately providing for vibration iso- lation for their ultrasensitive mi- croscopy instruments, but these sys- tems lack the flexibility to adapt to diverse locations and space con- straints. The new benchmark for today’s


CT-1 low-height negative-stiffness vibration isolator.


tions range from relatively simple rubber blocks, metal springs and bungee cord-suspended breadboards, to more sophisticated air tables, ac- tive electronic systems, and passive isolation systems — constructed with


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systems to provide a higher level of location flexibility and adaptability to space constraints. Research laboratory floor space


is increasingly at a premium. Scien- tists and engineers are required to


REFLOW


vibration isolation systems for micro- and nano-microscopy is to be “univer- sally adaptable.” This is exemplified by three characteristics: low-frequen- cy isolation in vibration-challenged locations; portability, without the need for power or air; and adaptabil- ity for low-frequency vibration isola- tion within tight space constraints.


Ultra-Thin, Low-Height Platform Given the closely monitored


conditions required for controlled en- Continued on next page


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