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Nanotechnology. 2010 Jun 4;21(22):225705. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/22/225705. Epub 2010 May 7.

High-speed atomic force microscopy for large scan sizes using small cantilevers.

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Institute of Applied Physics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.


We present a high-speed atomic force microscope that exhibits a number of practical advantages over previous designs. Its central component is a high-speed scanner with a maximum scan size of 23 microm x 23 microm and a conveniently large sample stage area (6.5 mm x 6.5 mm). In combination with small cantilevers, image rates of up to 46 images s(-1) in air and 13 images s(-1) in liquid are reached under z-feedback control. By large scan size imaging of collagen fibrils in air, sample velocities of 8.8 mm s(-1) in the xy-direction and 11 mm s(-1) in the z-direction are reached. To provide optimized imaging conditions for both large and small scan sizes, a modular scanner design allows easily exchanging the x- and y-piezos. The scanner is therefore also suited for investigations on the molecular and atomic scale, which is demonstrated by imaging the step dynamics of a calcite surface during dissolution and the hexagonal lattice of a mica surface in liquid.

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