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Instant AFM and nanoprobe instrumentation - just add science! View our AFM Video Tutorial.


MadPLL phase lock loop controller for building tuning fork AFM with nanopositioning systems

  Introduction


MadPLL® is a powerful instrument package that allows the user to create an inexpensive, high resolution resonant scan probe microscope using Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems. In short, MadPLL® can be used to create an “instant” closed loop AFM or NSOM at a fraction of the cost of commercial systems.

MadPLL® has been specifically designed for resonant probes such as tuning forks and Akiyama probes. MadPLL® is fully compatible with Mad City Labs’ high resolution nanopositioning systems, giving users seamless integration of hardware and software with flexibility and performance not available in commercial scanning probe microscopes.

Features
  • Low cost
  • Software, sensor amplifier, and probe boards included
  • 2 additional ADC connections for instrument versatility
  • Low noise, atomic step resolution

  • Automated software control
  • Auto PCC control
  • High resolution Auto Q calculation & resonant frequency detection
  • Integrated Z axis PI loop
  • Fully compatible with Mad City Labs positioning products

  What is MadPLL®?


MadPLL® is an integrated solution that includes the digital phase lock loop (PLL) controller, software, sensor amplifier, probe board mount, and resonant probe mounting board. Simply add your Akiyama probe or tuning fork to the probe board to create a powerful force sensor for scanning probe measurements with no optics required.

control schematic for MadPLL phase lock loop controller
The MadPLL® package includes the MadPLL® digital PLL controller, sensor board, probe board, and MadPLL® software. Ease of integration with resonant probes and Mad City Labs' low noise nanopositioning systems give users the ability to create high performance, low cost NSOM and AFM instruments.


The PLL controller contains a digitally controlled proportional integral (PI) loop designed to work seamlessly with Mad City Labs’ nanopositioning systems. The addition of closed loop nanopositioners adds to the high performance of MadPLL®. Additional options are available for multi-axis closed loop nanopositioning control.

The PLL controller has three operational modes: self oscillation, PLL driven, and lock-in/DDS driven. The probe can be controlled in constant excitation or constant signal mode. Measured outputs from the controller include changes in frequency, amplitude or phase shift.

control schematic of MadPLL phase lock loop controller with constant excitation ampltude or constant probe feecback amplitude
The digital MadPLL® controller has three operational modes: self oscillation, PLL driven, and DDS driven. The probe can be controlled in constant excitation amplitude or constant signal amplitude. Changes in frequency, amplitude, or phase are measured for Z control.


The sensor amplifier is the interface between the MadPLL® controller and the probe. The sensor amplifier contains a preamplifier, an excitation signal attenuator, and a parasistic capacitance compensation (PCC) circuit. The probe board mount and probe board assemblies are compact and can be fitted to existing instrumentation. The probe board simply plugs into the probe board mount. The mount can be fixed to a precision positioner such as a closed loop nanopositioning system. The probe board has been designed for use with tuning forks and Akiyama probes. These probes are easy to mount and alignment free.

MadPLL phase lock loop sensor amplifier board and probe boards for tuning fork AFM or Akiyama probe AFM
MadPLL® includes a sensor amplifier, probe boards, and intermediate probe mount. The probe boards are designed for use with tuning forks, Akiyama probes and Accutune probes.



  MadPLL® Software


MadPLL® software simplifies the control of your scanning probe microscope. All of the functions of MadPLL® are fully automated but accessible via individual software control. Among the software features are automated setup, configuration control, auto-Q calculation and automatic parasitic capacitance compensation (PCC) control. These included features are designed to simplify setup and accelerate the data acquisition process. MadPLL® software integrates seamlessly with Mad City Labs' AFMView™ software. AFMView™ software is part of our complete SPM development system.

  Application - AFM Video Tutorial


Instant AFM - just add science!


MadPLL® is the foundation of a customized, high resolution atomic force microscope (AFM) at a fraction of the cost of commercial systems. MadPLL® seamless integration with Mad City Labs’ low noise single and multi-axis nanopositioning systems makes it possible to create a fully closed loop AFM. The AFM described is suitable for both research and teaching environments and can be further customized for vacuum operation.

Mad City Labs AFM Assembly TutorialMad City Labs AFM Assembly Tutorial - How to Build an "Instant" Atomic Force Microscope


Video Bill of Materials
  • SPM-M Kit
    • MadPLL® Instrument Package
      • digital phase lock loop (PLL) controller
      • Akiyama probe mounting board
      • sensor amplifier board
    • Nano-SPM200 nanopositioning stage (XY)
    • Nano-OP30 nanopositioning stage (Z)
    • 3 axis closed loop Nano-Drive® controller
    • Z axis open loop/close loop switch (OCL option)
    • Adapter plate between preamplifier and Nano-OP30
    • Adapter plate to Thorlabs MT1 micropositioner
  • XY and Z coarse motion: standard stages available from optical component suppliers
  • Probe: Akiyama probe
  • Hardware: standard optical mounting fixtures
  • PC: Windows XP/Vista/7 (32 bit or 64 bit compatible)

This configuration is a highly flexible, low cost, multi-axis, closed loop Akiyama or tuning fork AFM called the SPM-M Kit. All Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems have low noise PicoQ® sensor technology and closed loop feedback control. Using MadPLL® the user can create a high performance scanning probe instrument at low cost.

Additional options available from Mad City Labs

* All Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems include the Nano-Drive® controller which is fully LabVIEW/C++/MATLAB compatible.

AFM configurations typically achieve Z resolutions of 0.5nm (rms) and a scanning frequency of 1Hz. Atomic step resolution and higher scan speeds can be achieved using da wide selection of Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems designed for metrology and high resolution microscopy applications. All Mad City Labs nanopositioning systems have low noise PicoQ® sensor technology and closed loop feedback control.

Recommended additional items
  • Vibration isolation table

  Image Gallery


Seeing is Believing!


The images below were acquired using MadPLL® with Mad City Labs closed loop nanopositioning systems.

MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Si (111) monatomic layer stepsMadPLL Atomic Force Microscope 3D Image of Si (111) monatomic layer steps

Si (111) Atomic Steps
(312pm monatomic layer thickness)
2µm x 2µm
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-HS3 3-axis nanopositioning system and etched tungsten tip on a quartz tuning fork.

MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration Grid Si (111) Atomic Steps
(312pm monatomic layer thickness)
1.76µm x 2.02µm
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-HS3 3-axis nanopositioning system and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration Grid Calibration grid
(100nm tall lines, 2µm apart)
10µm x 10µm
Unidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-HS3 3-axis nanopositioning system and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration Grid

Calibration grid
(100nm tall pegs, spaced 2µm apart)
10µm x 10µm
Unidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-HS3 3-axis nanopositioning system and Akiyama probe.

MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of a Fly EyeMadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of a Fly Eye Fly eye
100µm x 100µm
Bidirectional scan
PLL mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes) and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of a Human Hair Human hair
100µm x 100µm
Bidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes)
and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Uncured PMMA PatternMadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Uncured PMMA Pattern

PMMA pattern, uncured
10 µm x 10 µm
Bidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes) and Akiyama probe.

MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of an Integrated Circuit
Integrated circuit
100 µm x 100 µm
Bidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes)
and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration GridMadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration Grid
Calibration grid
40 µm x 40 µm
Unidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes)
and Akiyama probe.
MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Calibration Grid

Calibration grid
(100nm tall, 10µm pitch)
70 µm x 70 µm
Unidirectional scan
PLL mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes) and Akiyama probe.

MadPLL Atomic Force Microscope Image of Test Pattern
Etched structures
80 µm x 80 µm
Bidirectional scan
Self oscillation mode, constant probe signal
Z force feedback: frequency
Data taken using MadPLL® with Nano-OP30 nanopositioning system (Z-axis), Nano-OP100 nanopositioning system (XY axes)
and Akiyama probe.

  Technical Specifications


Lock-In Amplifier

Phase Shifter 0° to 360°
Demodulation Bandwidth 3 kHz

Phase Lock Loop

Auto Range Selection YES
Measurement Range ± 500 Hz
Measurement Resolution 50 mHz

Preamplifier

Input Gain (Attenuator) 0x to 1x (16 bit internal DAC)
Parasitic Capacitance Compensation (PCC) YES (16 bit internal DAC)
Automatic PCC YES

Probe Oscillation Loop

Operating Modes self oscillation
PLL driven
lock-in/DDS driven
Amplitude Control Modes constant excitation
constant signal
DDS Resolution 92mHz
Amplitude Setpoint 16 bit internal DAC
Amplitude Control YES, adjustable PI loop filter
Input Voltage Range ±10 V(peak)
Input Voltage Gain 2x to 40x
Frequency Range 10 kHz to 100 kHz
Output Voltage Range ±10 V(peak)

PI Loop Filter (Z-Axis)

Integration Time Constant digitally controlled
Digitally Set Parameters YES
Error Signal Inversion Capability YES
Sensor Signals frequency
phase
excitation amplitude
signal amplitude
Command Signal 16 bit internal DAC
Automatic Loop Filter Setup Yes, after initialization
Loop Output 0 to 14V

General

Spectrum Analysis amplitude, phase
Feedback Monitor BNC frequency
phase
excitation amplitude
signal amplitude
ADC input (2 x BNC) 0 to 10V input range, 16 bit
Probe Signal Monitor (BNC) sinewave amplitude probe (diagnostic)
Power Supply 90 to 260 VAC (50/60 Hz)
Controller Dimensions 16.75" x 14" x 1.75" (1U)
(42.55cm x 35.56cm x 4.45cm)
PC Connection USB
Operating System 32 bit: Windows XP Pro/Vista/7/8
64 bit: Windows XP Pro/Vista/7/8
LabVIEW Software OS 32 bit: Windows XP Pro/Vista/7/8
64bit: Windows XP Pro/Vista/7/8



Additional Information

MadPLL® Brochure
MadPLL brochure

Laser Focus World Article
article on low-cost AFM built with MadPLL and nanopositioning systems
NANOPOSITIONING: Piezo­electric nano­positioners forge low-cost atomic force microscope
AFM Video Tutorial
Build your own AFM tutorial video



Related Products


mclgen@madcitylabs.com       phone: 608.298.0855       fax: 608.298.9525

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