Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1307.7775 (Manan Mehta et al.)

A Hybrid Analog/Digital Phase-Locked Loop for Frequency Mode Non-contact
Scanning Probe Microscopy

Manan Mehta, Venkat Chandrasekhar
Non-contact scanning probe microscopy (SPM) has developed into a powerful technique to image many different properties of samples. The conventional method involves monitoring the amplitude, phase or frequency of a cantilever oscillating at or near its resonant frequency as it is scanned across the surface of a sample. For high Q factor cantilevers, monitoring the resonant frequency is the preferred method in order to obtain reasonable scan times. This can be done by using a phase-locked-loop (PLL). PLLs can be obtained as commercial integrated circuits, but these do not have the frequency resolution required for SPM. To increase the resolution, all-digital PLLs requiring sophisticated digital signal processors or field programmable gate arrays have also been implemented. We describe here a hybrid analog/digital PLL where most of the components are implemented using discrete analog integrated circuits, but the frequency resolution is provided by a direct digital synthesis chip controlled by a simple PIC microcontroller. The PLL has excellent frequency resolution and noise, and can be controlled and read by a computer via a USB connection.
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