High-speed spiral imaging technique for an atomic force microscope using a linear quadratic Gaussian controller

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Habibullah, H, Pota, HR & Petersen. IR 2014, 'High-speed spiral imaging technique for an atomic force microscope using a linear quadratic Gaussian controller', Review of Scientific Instruments, vol. 85, no. 3, art. 033706.

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This paper demonstrates a high-speed spiral imaging technique for an atomic force microscope (AFM). As an alternative to traditional raster scanning, an approach of gradient pulsing using a spiral line is implemented and spirals are generated by applying single-frequency cosine and sine waves of slowly varying amplitudes to the X and Y-axes of the AFM's piezoelectric tube scanner (PTS). Due to these single-frequency sinusoidal input signals, the scanning process can be faster than that of conventional raster scanning. A linear quadratic Gaussian controller is designed to track the reference sinusoid and a vibration compensator is combined to damp the resonant mode of the PTS. An internal model of the reference sinusoidal signal is included in the plant model and an integrator for the system error is introduced in the proposed control scheme. As a result, the phase error between the input and output sinusoids from the X and Y-PTSs is reduced. The spirals produced have particularly narrow-band frequency measures which change slowly over time, thereby making it possible for the scanner to achieve improved tracking and continuous high-speed scanning rather than being restricted to the back and forth motion of raster scanning. As part of the post-processing of the experimental data, a fifth-order Butterworth filter is used to filter noises in the signals emanating from the position sensors and a Gaussian image filter is used to filter the images. A comparison of images scanned using the proposed controller (spiral) and the AFM PI controller (raster) shows improvement in the scanning rate using the proposed method.