A new method for robust damping and tracking control of scanning probe microscope positioning stages

Andrew J. Fleming, S. S. Aphale, S. O. R. Moheimani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


This paper demonstrates a simple second-order controller that eliminates scan-induced oscillation and provides integral tracking action. The controller can be retrofitted to any scanning probe microscope with position sensors by implementing a simple digital controller or operational amplifier circuit. The controller is demonstrated to improve the tracking bandwidth of an NT-MDT scanning probe microscope from 15 Hz (with an integral controller) to 490 Hz while simultaneously improving gain-margin from 2 to 7 dB. The penalty on sensor induced positioning noise is minimal. A unique benefit of the proposed control scheme is the performance and stability robustness with respect to variations in resonance frequency. This is demonstrated experimentally by a change in resonance frequency from 934 to 140 Hz. This change does not compromise stability or significantly degrade performance. For the scanning probe microscope considered in this paper, the noise is marginally increased from 0.30 to 0.39 nm rms. Open and closed-loop experimental images of a calibration standard are reported at speeds of 1, 10, and 31 lines per second (with a scanner resonance frequency of 290 Hz). Compared with traditional integral controllers, the proposed controller provides a bandwidth improvement of greater than 10 times. This allows faster imaging and less tracking lag at low speeds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-448
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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