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Nanotechnology. 2013 Nov 15;24(45):455503. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/45/455503. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Low-voltage and high-performance buzzer-scanner based streamlined atomic force microscope system.

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Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 11529, Taiwan. Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan.


In this paper we present a novel scanner design in a quad-rod actuation structure, actuated by piezoelectric disk buzzers, and a new type of atomic force microscope (AFM), which uses this buzzer-scanner and a compact disk/digital-versatile-disk astigmatic optical pickup unit (OPU) for the detection of cantilever movements. Commercially available piezoelectric disk buzzers have a low capacitance and can be driven by low-voltage signal sources, such as analog outputs from a data acquisition card, without additional voltage or current amplifiers. Various scanning ranges can be realized through changing the dimensions of the actuation structure and/or the choice of disk buzzer. We constructed a buzzer-scanner and evaluated its performance. The scanner had a scanning range of 15 μm in the X and Y directions and an actuation range of 3.5 μm on the Z axis, with nonlinearity of 2.11%, 2.73%, and 2.19% for the X,Y and Z axes, respectively. The scanner had a resonance frequency of approximately 360 Hz on the X and Y axes, and 4.12 kHz on the Z axis. An OPU-AFM with this buzzer-scanner can resolve single atomic steps of a graphite substrate with a noise level of 0.06 nm. The obtained topographic images exhibit much less distortion than those obtained with an AFM using a piezoelectric tube scanner.

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