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Test & measurement


The DN2.593-08 digitizerNETBOX allows 40 MS/s sampling with 16-bit on eight channels simultaneously


a passive rectangular cantilever has been adopted as the industry wide standard. Consequently, conventional cantilever instrumentation requires external piezo- acoustic excitation as well as an external optical deflection sensor. Both of these components are not optimal for trends in multifrequency AFM technology which can extend the imaging information beyond the topography to a range of nano-mechanical properties including sample stiffness, elasticity and adhesiveness. In contrast, active cantilevers with integrated actuation and sensing on the chip level provide several distinct advantages over conventional cantilever including the absence of structural modes of the mounting system, the possibility of down-scaling, single- chip AFM implementations, parallelisation to cantilever arrays as well as the absence of optical interference. Dr. Ruppert and his co-workers have recently


novel, integrated cantilever designs to improve AFM performance, simplify operation and drastically reduce the footprint and equipment costs. The papers discuss topics that include innovative cantilever designs to optimise deflection sensitivity, achieve arbitrary placement of resonance frequencies and allow integrated robust multimode Q control. In collaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas, Dr. Ruppert also co-developed the first silicon-on- insulator, single-chip, MEMS AFM that features integrated in-plane electrostatic actuators and electrothermal sensors, as well as an AlN piezoelectric layer for out-of-plane actuation and integrated deflection sensing. The approach has the potential to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of the AFM and expand its utility beyond current applications. To undertake this type of research, it is


published a number of papers that proposeINS-APR20-LABFACILITY.qxp_Layout 1 17/04/2020 15:23 Page 1


important to have high precision measuring equipment that allows the acquisition and analysis of the sensor signals from these integrated microcantilevers. By determining the amplitude noise spectral density, important parameters of the cantilever system can be obtained including the thermal noise at resonance, the cantilever tracking bandwidth, and the electronic noise floor of the instrumentation. For this purpose, the research group uses a model DN2.593-08 digitizerNETBOX from Spectrum Instrumentation. The unit has eight fully synchronised digitiser channels each capable of sampling signals at rates up to 40 MS/s with 16-bit resolution. For control and data transfer,


Dr. Michael Ruppert aligning a custom active cantilever in a modified atomic force microscope.


the digitizerNETBOX connects to a host computer via a simple Gbit Ethernet cable. Dr. Ruppert says: “Having a measuring


tool like the digitizerNETBOX is essential for the work we are doing here at the Precision Mechatronics Lab. The unit allows us to make simultaneous high-resolution, low- noise measurements of multiple integrated sensor regions in order to correctly characterise our system’s performance.”


Spectrum Instrumentation www.spectrum-instrumentation.com


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  


 





 Instrumentation Monthly March 2021


  31


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