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Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 226; doi:10.3390/app7030226

Optical Beam Deflection Based AFM with Integrated Hardware and Software Platform for an Undergraduate Engineering Laboratory

Department of Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, 31900 Kampar, Perak, Malaysia
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Academic Editor: Richard Leach
Received: 19 December 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dimensional Micro and Nanometrology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3045 KB, uploaded 28 February 2017]   |  

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used extensively in nanoscience research since its invention. Recently, many teaching laboratories in colleges, undergraduate institutions, and even high schools incorporate AFM as an effective teaching tool for nanoscience education. This paper presents an optical beam deflection (OBD) based atomic force microscope, designed specifically for the undergraduate engineering laboratory as a teaching instrument. An electronic module for signal conditioning was built with components that are commonly available in an undergraduate electronic laboratory. In addition to off-the-shelf mechanical parts and optics, the design of custom-built mechanical parts waskept as simple as possible. Hence, the overall cost for the setup is greatly reduced. The AFM controller was developed using National Instruments Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS), an integrated hardware and software platform which can be programmed in LabVIEW. A simple yet effective control algorithm for scanning and feedback control was developed. Despite the use of an educational platform and low-cost components from the undergraduate laboratory, the developed AFM is capable of performing imaging in constant-force mode with submicron resolution and at reasonable scanning speed (approximately 18 min per image). Therefore, the AFM is suitable to be used as an educational tool for nanoscience. Moreover, the construction of the system can be a valuable educational experience for electronic and mechanical engineering students. View Full-Text
Keywords: atomic force microscopy (AFM); optical beam deflection (OBD); scanning probe microscopy (SPM); NI ELVIS; LabVIEW; undergraduate; teaching instrument atomic force microscopy (AFM); optical beam deflection (OBD); scanning probe microscopy (SPM); NI ELVIS; LabVIEW; undergraduate; teaching instrument
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Loh, S.H.; Cheah, W.J. Optical Beam Deflection Based AFM with Integrated Hardware and Software Platform for an Undergraduate Engineering Laboratory. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 226.

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