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Development of a Self-Excited Oscillator for SI-Traceable Measurements in Atomic Force Microscopy

[+] Author Affiliations
Gregory W. Vogl, Jon R. Pratt

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD

Paper No. DETC2008-49931, pp. 765-774; 10 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 20th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; Second International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4328-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5


A new self-excited micro-oscillator is proposed as a velocity reference that could aid the dissemination of nanonewton-level forces that are traceable to the International System of Units (SI). An analog control system is developed to keep the actuation side of the device oscillating sinusoidally with an amplitude that is fairly insensitive to the quality factor. Consequently, the device can be calibrated as a velocity reference in air and used in ultra-high vacuum with a velocity shift of less than one percent. Hence, the calibrated micro-oscillator could be used with electrostatic forces to calibrate cantilevers used for atomic force microscopy (AFM) as SI-traceable force transducers. Furthermore, the calibrated micro-oscillator could potentially be used as an AFM sensor to achieve atomic resolutions on par with those realized in frequency-modulation AFM (FM-AFM) with quartz tuning forks.



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