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Rev Sci Instrum. 2013 May;84(5):053702. doi: 10.1063/1.4803449.

Wide-area scanner for high-speed atomic force microscopy.

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Department of Physics, College of Science and Engineering, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan.


High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) has recently been established. The dynamic processes and structural dynamics of protein molecules in action have been successfully visualized using HS-AFM. However, its maximum scan ranges in the X- and Y-directions have been limited to ~1 μm and ~4 μm, respectively, making it infeasible to observe the dynamics of much larger samples, including live cells. Here, we develop a wide-area scanner with a maximum XY scan range of ~46 × 46 μm(2) by magnifying the displacements of stack piezoelectric actuators using a leverage mechanism. Mechanical vibrations produced by fast displacement of the X-scanner are suppressed by a combination of feed-forward inverse compensation and the use of triangular scan signals with rounded vertices. As a result, the scan speed in the X-direction reaches 6.3 mm/s even for a scan size as large as ~40 μm. The nonlinearity of the X- and Y-piezoelectric actuators' displacements that arises from their hysteresis is eliminated by polynomial-approximation-based open-loop control. The interference between the X- and Y-scanners is also eliminated by the same technique. The usefulness of this wide-area scanner is demonstrated by video imaging of dynamic processes in live bacterial and eukaryotic cells.

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