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Operating Instructions

easyPLL plus
Version 3.0
easyPLL plus CONTROLLER
V
on

Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc.

Monitor
Amplitude Set Point Dissipation

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100 x10 x1 x11
+180

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

+60

< 50 0 +120

max

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

NANOSURF AND THE NANOSURF LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS OF NANOSURF AG, REGISTERED AND/OR OTHERWISE
PROTECTED IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES.

NOV. 2004 BY NANOSURF AG, SWITZERLAND, PROD.:BT01334, V3.0 R0


2

Table of Contents
The easyPLL plus 5
Introduction ........................................................................................... 5 Technical Data ...................................................................................... 6 Controller 6 Detector 7 Connectors and Indicators ................................................................... 9 Controller 9 Detector 10 Content of delivery ............................................................................ 11

Installation
Installing the easyPLL Software ........................................................ Installing the Hardware ..................................................................... Connecting to a generic system Connecting to a JEOL SPM 4500 system Connecting to an Omicron system Connecting a PSI UHV system Connecting to an RHK SPM1000 system

12
12 14 15 16 18 21 23

Operation
Self Exciting Oscillation mode ........................................................... Starting the Oscillation Optimising the Phase shift Locking the Detector to the resonance frequency Constant Amplitude and Constant Excitation mode ......................... Starting the Oscillation Optimising the amplitude control ...................................................... Preparing the system for approach / scan ........................................ Lock-In mode .....................................................................................

26
26 27 28 29 29 30 31 32 33

Software Reference

35

The easyPLL main window ............................................................... 35 Center Frequency search dialog ....................................................... 40 Configuration dialog .......................................................................... 43

Troubleshooting Theory of Operation

45 46

Components of an easyPLL plus system .......................................... 46


3

The sensor The easyPLL Controller The easyPLL Detector Operation of the easyPLL plus modes .............................................. Self Exciting Oscillation mode Constant Amplitude mode Constant Excitation mode Lock-In mode Choosing an Operating mode. .......................................................... Lock-In mode or FM-mode ? Which FM mode should be used? Literature ...........................................................................................

46 47 47 50 50 52 53 54 55 55 59 59

About this manual

This easyPLL plus Operating Instructions manual should be read by anyone who wishes to set up and operate the easyPLL plus system. It applies to version 3.0 of the easyPLL plus software. Users who want to control the Detector using external software should refer to the easyPLL plus programmers manual, which is delivered in PDF-format on the easyPLL plus software installation CD.
4

INTRODUCTION

THE EASYPLL PLUS

The easyPLL plus


Introduction
The Nanosurf easyPLL plus system is an electronic device for controlling and measuring the resonance of vibrating sensors that detect changes in their environment by changing their resonance frequency. The system consists of a Controller and a Detector. The Controller regulates the resonant amplitude and phase of the of the sensors vibration, the Detector outputs an analog voltage that is proportional to the change in the sensors vibration frequency. Although the easyPLL plus Detector can also be used separately with a third party controller, the Detector and Controller are usually used together, therefore this manual describes the operation of the two together. The easyPLL plus is generally used to control the resonance of an Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM) sensor (e.g. tuning fork or cantilever), and to measure its resonance frequency. The output voltage of the Detectors analog frequency output can then be used to control the tip-sample distance feedback loop of an AFM system produced by third parties. Several operating modes are possible, these differ in the way the system regulates the sensors vibration frequency and amplitude. The easyPLL plus Detector alone can measure in the Self Exciting Oscillation mode. Together with the easyPLL plus Controller, also measurements in Constant Amplitude, Constant Excitation and Lock-In mode can be made. In addition to changes in resonance frequency, the Controller/Detector set can also measure changes in vibration amplitude, phase shift or dissipation, depending on the operating mode. The patented design of the easyPLL plus, that combines analog signal processing with a digital Phase Locked Loop (PLL) allows it to measure this frequency with higher speed, resolution and stability than conventional measurement devices. Moreover, all functionality of the Detector is controlled through the easyPLL plus software, which is installed on a PC with an MS Windows operating system.

THE EASYPLL PLUS

TECHNICAL DATA

Several other Nanosurf easyPLL products can be used in conjunction with the easyPLL plus system: The easyPLL UHV preamplifier amplifies the signal from the oscillating sensor, when mounted inside an Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) chamber. The easyPLL Manual Controller allows you to change the reference frequency without using a PC.

Technical Data
Controller
Detector In

frequency range: voltage range: Input filter


Drive out

10 Hz 1 MHz max. 1 Vpeak 40 kHz, on/off, 80 dB/Dec noise <2.5 mVeff <0.3 mVeff <0.2 mVeff

Gain x1 x0.1 x0.01

Signal range 10 V 1 V 0.1 V

Signal output

noise

<1mVeff noise <0.3 mVeff <3 mVeff <10 mVeff

Dissipation output

Proportional gain 10 100 1000

TECHNICAL DATA

THE EASYPLL PLUS

Amplitude control

Setpoint proportional gain integral gain bandwidth


Analog phase shifter

0 - 1V 10 - 11000 on/off 1 kHz

0 - 360
Other

Power supply Fuse

110/230 VAC (50/60 Hz) 0.40 AT (220 - 240 VAC) 0.80 AT (100 - 130 VAC)

Detector
Input

frequency: 10 kHz 2 MHz amplitude: 10 mV 10 V peak (5 gain steps, with autorange)


Reference output

frequency: 10 kHz - 2 MHz voltage: 10 V (14 Bit) Digital phase shifter: 0 - 360 (19 Bit)
Frequency shift measurement

Operating modes:

Self Exciting Oscillation, Constant Amplitude, Constant Excitation, Lock-In amplitude, phase

Demodulation bandwidth (BW): 120/400/1200 Hz Spectrum analysis: Temperature coefficient 3.5 mHz/C

THE EASYPLL PLUS

TECHNICAL DATA

Measurement range 183 Hz 366 Hz 732 Hz 1464 Hz

Measurement resolution 5 mHz 11 mHz 22 mHz 44 mHz

System output noise [Hzeff]* Measurement Bandwith range 120Hz 400Hz 183 Hz 366 Hz 732 Hz 1464 Hz < 4 mHz < 8 mHz <13 mHz <25 mHz <13 mHz <13 mHz <25 mHz <50 mHz

1200Hz < 60 mHz < 50 mHz < 75 mHz <100 mHz

*Output gain = 1, Signal input frequency = 200 kHz


Manual Controller Offset input

bandwith 27 kHz input voltage 10 V input, differential Connection Signal Pin1 Pin2 Pin3 Pin4 Shield
Output

+10 V reference voltage output + Offset input - Offset input -10 V reference voltage output ground

Output gain 0.1 1 10 100

Output signal range 1 V 10 V 10 V 10 V yes

Output polarity selection

CONNECTORS AND INDICATORS

THE EASYPLL PLUS

Software

Operating system Remote control


Other

Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP COM Automation (LabView/Visual Basic/Del phi/C++/...) Standard PC parallel port 90 230 VAC (50/60 Hz)

PC connection Power supply

Specifications are subject to change without notice

Connectors and Indicators


Controller
Monitor switch Mode switch display of the monitored signal Amplitude Set Point potentiometer Phase Shift switches and potentiometer Range switch for phase shift Amplitude controller switches and potentiometer

Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc.

Monitor
Amplitude Set Point Dissipation

easyPLL plus

CONTROLLER

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

V
x10 x1 x11 0 max

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Sensor signal input

Signal out to Detector

Amplitude signal Dissipation signal

Drive out to excitation piezo

Reference signal from Detector

Monitor selector

Amplitude: SetPoint:

Displays the RMS vibration amplitude of the 10x amplified sensor signal. Displays the Setpoint for the amplitude input is displayed in Self Osc. and Const. Ampl. mode.

THE EASYPLL PLUS

CONNECTORS AND INDICATORS

Dissipation:

Displays the peak amplitude of the Drive out signal.


Mains power voltage selector switch Fuse

230

AC Power Serial Nr.

NANOSURF AG - 4410 LIESTAL - SWITZERLAND

mains power connector

Detector
The Detector has several BNC connectors for input and output as well as LEDs for quick status overview.
signal monitor switch sensor signal input output voltage proportional to frequency shift output for z-feedback loop (error signal)

reference signal output

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

Manual Controller offset input display of the monitored signal input frequency out of range indicator out of range indicators of input amplitude

Monitor selector

The switch selects the signal to be displayed on the display.

10

CONTENT OF DELIVERY

THE EASYPLL PLUS

TipGuard response potentiometer


AC Power Serial Nr. Tip Guard Parallel Interface

NANOSURF AG - 4410 LIESTAL - SWITZERLAND

Parallel Port connector

mains power connector

TipGuard response potentiometer

With the TipGuard response potentiometer, you can adjust the voltage to which the tip is retracted when the PLL unlocks (see chapter the easyPLL software, section TipGuard).

Content of delivery
After unpacking the instrument, check for the following items:
Controller

1 - easyPLL plus Controller 2 - Mains cable 3 - Two 25 cm long BNC cables


Detector

1 - easyPLL plus Detector 2 - Software installation CD 3 - Parallel port cable 4 - Mains cable 5 - This manual

11

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE EASYPLL SOFTWARE

Installation
This section gives instructions for installing the easyPLL plus system

Installing the easyPLL Software


You need a PC with MS Windows 95 or newer operating system in order to install the easyPLL software: - Turn on your computer and start Windows if necessary.
Important!

- Log in with Administrator rights when your are using Windows NT, 2000, XP or newer. - Insert the (backup copy of your) installation CD into the drive. An installation menu should now appear. If this does not happen: - Open the CD and start the programme StartCDMenu.exe. - Select Install easyPLL software.

12

INSTALLING THE EASYPLL SOFTWARE

INSTALLATION

The installation screen now appears. , to install the easyPLL software. - Click The setup will ask for the directory in which the program files are to be copied:

- We recommend putting them in the suggested directory. Afterwards, the setup will ask for the program group in which easyPLL is to be placed:

- Click Ok or type another name. The setup will now ask for the parallel (LPT) port:

- Select the parallel port to which you have connected the Detector. (See section Assembly)
13

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

Make sure that the parallel port of your PC is configured to either SPPMode or normal Mode. This configuration can be set in the BIOS of your PC. Please refer to your PC documentation for help. - Click OK.

Restart your PC.

Installing the Hardware


This section gives instructions on how to set up your easyPLL plus system. It starts with general instructions, and then continues with instructions for connecting the Detector to the following systems: JEOL, Omicron, PSI, RHK. Software settings are also given for each instrument. If you have another instrument, or have found better settings, please contact Nanosurf or your local distributor.
Important!

Before connecting the electronics, check that the voltage indicated on the Mains power voltage selector switch on the rear panel of the Controller corresponds to your mains voltage. Using the wrong setting will blow the fuse or may even damage the electronics.
14

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

- Turn off your computer. - Connect the easyPLL plus Detector to a free parallel port (LPT-Port) on your computer with the parallel port cable. - Connect the Detector to the mains with the mains cable. - Connect the Controller to the mains using the mains cable. The other connections depend on both the operating mode (see chapter Operating the Controller) and the AFM you are using. Use 50 BNC cables to make all BNC connections.

Connecting to a generic system


Cables for Detector only

- Connect the (amplified) sensor signal to the Input of the Detector using a 50 BNC cable. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the z-feedback error signal input of your scan control electronics using a 50 BNC cable.
Cables for Controller/Detector set

- Use the two BNC cables to connect the Controller to the Detector, as is shown in the figure Connecting the Controller to the Detector.
Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc. Set Point Dissipation 0 max

Monitor
Amplitude

easyPLL plus CONTROLLER


V

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

x10 x1 x11

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

Connecting the Controller to the Detector


15

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

- Connect the (amplified) sensor signal to the Detector in input of the Controller. - Connect the Drive out output of the Controller to the excitation input of the sensor. - If you have an Oscilloscope available: - Connect the sensor signal to Channel 1 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect Drive out to Channel 2 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the Z-feedback error signal input of the scan electronics. - Connect the Dissipation output of the Controller to an auxiliary ADC input of the scan electronics. - Connect the Amplitude output of the Controller to an auxiliary ADC input of the scan electronics. - Connect the dF output of the Detector to an auxiliary ADC input of the scan electronics.
easyPLL plus software settings

For a description of the parameters that should be set, refer to Chapter Software Reference.

Connecting to a JEOL SPM 4500 system


Cables for Detector only

- Connect the A-B output of the AFM AMP to the Input of the Detector. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the AFM input of the SPM CONTROL.

16

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

AFM AMP (Rear)

A-B

CNTI

SPM CONTROL (Rear)

AFM

Cables for Controller/Detector set

- Connect the A-B output of the AFM AMP to the Detector In input of the Controller. - Connect the CNTI input of the AFM AMP to the Drive Out output of the Controller - If you have an Oscilloscope available: - Connect the A-B output to Channel 1 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Drive Out to Channel 2 on the Oscilloscope as well.
AFM AMP (Rear)
Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc. Set Point Dissipation 0 max

Monitor
Amplitude

easyPLL plus CONTROLLER


V

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

x10 x1 x11

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

A-B

CNTI

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

SPM CONTROL (Rear)

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

AFM

17

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

- Connect the AFM input of the SPM CONTROL to the Output output of the Detector
easyPLL plus software settings

Input Lock range Input: Auto range Output: Gain Positive polarity TipGuard: Retract tip if unlocked Positive direction

Setting +-732 Hz on x1 off on off

JEOL WinSPM software settings

- In the Advanced dialog, set the STM/AFM box to FM.

Connecting to an Omicron system


Cables for Detector only

- Insert a BNC-T connector between the FN cable from the UHV system and the FN input of the AFM CU. - Connect the FN signal of the BNC-T connector to the Input of the Detector. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the F IN input on the SPM CU. - Optionally, you can connect the dF output of the Detector to the EXT 1 Input of the SPM CU.

18

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

UHV AFM-Chamber

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

FN IN

BNC-Splitter

FL IN

FN OUT

EXT 1

F IN

Standard Omicron multicore cable

IN

AFM CU

AFM CU

SPM CU

SPM CU

Cables for Controller/Detector set

- Insert a BNC-T between the FN cable from the UHV system to the FN input of the AFM CU. - Connect the FN signal of the AFM CU to the Detector In of the Controller. - Connect the Drive out output of the Controller to the Excite cable from the UHV system. - If you have an Oscilloscope available: - Connect the FN signal to Channel 1 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Drive Out to Channel 2 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the F IN input on the SPM CU. - Depending on the operation mode, connect the Amplitude or Dissipation output of the Controller to the EXT 1 Input of the SPM CU.

19

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc.

Monitor
Amplitude Set Point Dissipation

easyPLL plus CONTROLLER


V

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

x10 x1 x11

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

max

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

UHV AFM-Chamber

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

FN IN

Excite

FN

BNC-Splitter

FL IN

FN OUT

EXT 1

F IN

Standard Omicron multicore cable

IN

AFM CU

AFM CU

SPM CU

SPM CU

easyPLL plus software settings

Input Lock range Input: Auto range Output: Gain Positive polarity TipGuard: Retract tip if unlocked Positive direction

Setting +-732 Hz on x1 off on off

Omicron ScanControl settings

- Select the mode AFM non contact in the menu Topography Preset.
20

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

The Button Feedback set in the Panel Measurement Control is now useless. The corresponding value is now set either digitally with the easyPLL plus software with the value OffsetFrq or manually with the optionally available easyPLL Manual Controller. When measuring the Amplitude or Dissipation signal using EXT 1: - Open the calibration settings via the menu Setup/Edit Hardware/Miscellaneous Calibration. - Enter the following values in the row for EXT 1: Name: Amplitude or Dissipation Min: -10 Max: +10 Unit: V Min: -10.0 Max: +10.0

Connecting a PSI UHV system


Cables for Detector only
Power Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

PSI NC Module

PIEZO-LEVER SIGNAL IN

FM SIGNAL MONITOR

FM ERROR OUT

PSI Interface Module

Z-MOD HF

NC AFM / AUX

- Connect the FM SIGNAL MONITOR output of the PSI NC Module to the Input of the Detector. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the NC AFM / AUX input of the PSI Interface Module.
21

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

Cables for Controller/Detector set

- Connect the FM SIGNAL MONITOR output of the PSI NC Module to the Detector in input of the Controller. - Connect the Drive out of output the Controller to the Z-MOD HF input of the PSI Interface Module. - If you have an Oscilloscope available: - Connect the FM SIGNAL MONITOR output to Channel 1 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Drive Out to Channel 2 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect the Output of the Detector to the NC AFM / AUX input of the PSI Interface Module.
Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc. Set Point Dissipation 0 max

Monitor
Amplitude

easyPLL plus CONTROLLER


V

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

x10 x1 x11

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

easyPLL plus DETECTOR


Hz

Input
Range Hi Lo 10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

PSI NC Module

PIEZO-LEVER SIGNAL IN

FM SIGNAL MONITOR

FM ERROR OUT

PSI Interface Module

Z-MOD HF

NC AFM / AUX

easyPLL plus software settings

Input Lock range

Setting +-723 Hz

22

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

Input: Auto range Output: Gain Positive polarity TipGuard: Retract tip if unlocked Positive direction

on x1 off on off

Connecting to an RHK SPM1000 system


The settings and connections given here are optimised for using the RHK SPM1000 system in combination with the RHK UHV350 system. For other systems, those settings marked as UHV350 may be different.
Cables

- Connect the NORMAL FORCE output on the AFM100 to the Detector in Input on the Controller. - Connect the Drive out output of the Controller to the cable marked Modulation (UHV350), or to Z POSITION #2 on the SPM100 electronics. - If you have an Oscilloscope available: - Connect NORMAL FORCE to Channel 1 on the Oscilloscope as well. - Connect Drive out to Channel 2 on the Oscilloscope as well.- Connect the Output on the Detector to the Preamp Input (external) input on the SPM100. - Connect the Amplitude output of the Controller to the FROM LOCKIN input of the SPM100.

23

INSTALLATION

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

Mode
Const. Excit. Const. Ampl. Self Osc.

Monitor
Amplitude Set Point Dissipation

easyPLL plus CONTROLLER


V

Set Point
off

Amplitude Control
x1000 x100
on

Phase Shift
0 0

Range
>200 <200

x10 x1 x11

+180

+60

< 50 0 +120

max

Amplitude

I-Gain

P-Gain

Phase

kHz

Power

Detector in
off

Drive out
x1 x 0.1

Signal out

Ref in

Amplitude

Dissipation

< 1V

Low Pass 40kHz

x 0.01 < 10V < 10V < 10V RMS out out

nanoSurf

Modulation
easyPLL plus DETECTOR
Hz
10mV - 10V 10kHz - 2MHz

Power

Monitor
Output dF Offset

Input
Range Hi Lo

Ref
Locked

dF

Offset

Output

10V 0 - 360

10V

10V

10V Gain=0.1-100

AFM100
NORMAL FORCE

SPM100

MODULATION INPUTS Z-POSITION #2 AUX INPUTS FROM LOCK-IN AUX 1 PREAMP INPUT

Depending on whether you are using one of the PLL modes or the LockIn mode, make the following connections: - For PLL mode, connect the Dissipation output on the Controller to the AUX 1 input on the SPM100. - For Lock-In mode, connect the dF output on the Sensor controller to the AUX 1 input on the SPM100.
Switches on the SPM100 electronics

SPM 100: Feedback Linear Input Polarity SPM


24

INSTALLING THE HARDWARE

INSTALLATION

Polarity Input Lock range Input: Auto range Output: Gain Positive polarity

Normal Setting +-732 Hz on x1 off on off

easyPLL plus software settings

TipGuard: Retract tip if unlocked Positive direction


RHK software settings

- Go to the menu Settings / I/O - Choose User Defined for the operation mode, - Enter dF as name and Hz as unit. - Copy the calibration from the DeltaF monitor in the easyPLL plus software, and add a - sign (UHV350).

25

OPERATION

SELF EXCITING OSCILLATION MODE

Operation
In the following, it is assumed that you are using the easyPLL plus Controller in combination with the easyPLL plus Detector. If you are using the Detector alone, only the Self Exciting Oscillation mode is available. Otherwise, the easyPLL plus set supports four modes for working with a frequency modulated sensor: 1. Self Exciting Oscillation: The Detector measures the sensors vibration frequency. The Controller excites the sensor resonance by feeding the measured sensor vibration back to the sensor excitation. The Controller also regulates the vibration amplitude to a constant value, and measures the necessary excitation amplitude. 2. Constant Amplitude: The Detector excites the sensor and tracks its resonance frequency. The Controller regulates the vibration amplitude to a constant value, and measures the necessary excitation amplitude. 3. Constant Excitation: The Detector excites the sensor and tracks its resonance frequency. The Controller sets the excitation amplitude and measures the vibration amplitude. 4. Lock-In (Controller: Const. Excit.): The Detector excites the sensor at a constant frequency, and measures the phase shift of the vibration. The Controller sets the excitation amplitude and measures the vibration amplitude. For more information on how to select the operating mode, refer to chapter Theory of Operation, especially section Choosing an Operating mode.

Self Exciting Oscillation mode


In the Self Exciting Oscillation mode, the Controller excites the sensor resonance frequency by feeding the sensor deflection signal back to the excitation device (e.g. piezo). With the appropriate amplification and phase shift settings in the feedback loop, the sensor will start to selfoscillate. An amplitude controller keeps the oscillation amplitude con26

SELF EXCITING OSCILLATION MODE

OPERATION

stant by varying the amplification of the feedback loop. The frequency of the oscillation is converted into a DC signal by the Detector, and can then be used for Z-feedback.

Starting the Oscillation


Follow this procedure to find the optimum settings for a new or unknown sensor: - Set the Controller controls as follows: Control Setting Mode switch Monitor switch SetPoint Amplitude Self Osc. Dissipation 1V

Amplitude Control: I-Gain switch off P-Gain pot. x1 P-Gain switch x100 Phase Shift: switches potentiometer Range switch Low pass switch Drive out switch 0 0 expected resonance frequency range in kHz see below x0.01

Turn on the Low Pass 40 kHz switch on the Detector when using a sensor with a resonance frequency lower than 30 kHz, this will lead to less noise in the amplitude measurement. - Check that the sensor is oscillating: The oscillation should be visible on the oscilloscope and the Monitor display: The Dissipation voltage should not be larger than about 13 V. When the sensor is oscillating, continue with Optimising the phase shift. Otherwise, monitor the dissipation to check the result of each of the following steps and continue with Optimising the phase shift when the sensor starts oscillating.
27

OPERATION

SELF EXCITING OSCILLATION MODE

Sweep the phase shift from 0 to 360: - Turn the Phase Shift potentiometer to search for the resonance frequency of the sensor. - If adjusting the Phase Shift potentiometer up to its maximum setting does not result in oscillation, switch the +180 Phase Shift switch to +180 and turn the Phase Shift potentiometer back to zero again. When oscillation does not start, increase the Amplitude Control gain: - Turn the Amplitude Control potentiometer to x5 - x8 and increase the Amplitude SetPoint to 5 V. - Sweep the phase from 0 to 360. When oscillation does not start, increase the excitation: - Set the Drive out switch to x1. - Sweep the phase from 0 to 360. When the oscillation does not start, increase the Amplitude Control Gain and the Set Point Amplitude even further. If all these steps fail to start oscillation, measure the amplitude and phase diagram of the sensor to check whether there really is a resonance using the Center Frequency search dialog of the easyPLL plus software.

Optimising the Phase shift


When the resonant oscillation has been successfully established, the Controller should be adjusted to operate at the precise resonance frequency of the sensor. This is the case when the sensor dissipation is minimal. - Set the Monitor switch on the Controller to Dissipation. - Turn the Phase Shift potentiometer until the monitor displays minimal dissipation. - When the dissipation is still not minimal at the maximum position of the Phase Shift potentiometer, switch the 60 Phase Shift switch, and adjust the Phase Shift potentiometer again.
28

CONSTANT AMPLITUDE AND CONSTANT EXCITATION MODE

OPERATION

Important!

The 40 kHz filter causes a slight additional phase shift, therefore optimise Phase Shift of the Controller again after turning on the filter.

Locking the Detector to the resonance frequency


When the sensor has been set up to oscillate at its resonance frequency using the Controller, the Detector should be locked to this frequency using the following procedure: - Start the easyPLL plus software if it was not already running. - Select the Self Exciting Oscillation mode using the Operating mode drop-down menu. - Open the Center Frequency search dialog by clicking .

- Set the Frequency Range from approximately 60% to 140% of the expected resonance frequency. to find the CenterFrq. - Click Now, continue with section Optimising the amplitude control.

Constant Amplitude and Constant Excitation mode


The Constant Amplitude and Excitation mode use the phase controlling properties of the phase locked loop to track the resonance frequency of the cantilever. The reference signal from the Detector is only amplified/weakened by the Controller, and then applied to the excitation device. The resulting sensor deflection signal is passed through the Controller to the input of the Detector. The phase locked loop in the Detector adjusts the reference frequency until the phase shift between the sensor signal and the reference signal is equal to the phase shift given in the Phase shift input in the easyPLL plus software. When this phase shift is set properly, the frequency of the reference signal will follow the resonance frequency of the sensor. The frequency of the oscillation is converted into a DC signal by the Detector, and can then be used for Zfeedback.

29

OPERATION

CONSTANT AMPLITUDE AND CONSTANT EXCITATION MODE

In the Constant Amplitude mode, the amplitude controller in the Detector keeps the oscillation amplitude constant by varying the excitation of the sensor. This is done by controlling the amplification of the reference signal. In Constant Excitation mode, the excitation is constant.

Starting the Oscillation


Follow this procedure to set up the resonant oscillation with a new or unknown sensor: - Set the Controller: Control Setting Mode switch Monitor switch SetPoint Amplitude Const. Excit. or Const. Ampl. Dissipation 1V

Amplitude Control Gain: I-Gain switch on P-Gain potentiometer x1 P-Gain switch x10 Phase Shift: switches potentiometer Low pass switch Drive out switch 0 0 see below x0.01

Turn on the Low Pass 40 kHz switch on the Detector when using a sensor with a resonance frequency lower than 30 kHz, this will lead to less noise in the amplitude measurement.
Important!

The 40 kHz filter causes a slight additional phase shift, therefore adjust the Phase shift setting in the software after turning on the filter. - Start the easyPLL plus software if it is not yet running. - Select the desired operating mode using the Operating mode dropdown menu.
30

OPTIMISING THE AMPLITUDE CONTROL

OPERATION

- Open the Center frequency search dialog by clicking . Depending on your personal preferences, you can now use either the automatic search or the manual selection method to find the resonance frequency. - Set the Frequency Range from approximately 60% to 140% of the expected resonance frequency. - Set Frequency step to approximately: fresonance / (3 Q) - Set Time/step to at least: Q / fresonance . - Perform automatic adjustment by clicking . The easyPLL plus software will now search for the resonance frequency by searching for the steepest slope of the phase/frequency. The search result is shown in the Marker section of the dialog. Alternatively, you can manually select the operating frequency from the resonance curve: - Select a smaller Frequency range and Frequency step than for the automatic method. - Click . .

- Select the desired operating point in the resonance curve, and click . When the sensor is oscillating at its resonance frequency, continue with section Optimising the Amplitude Control.

Optimising the amplitude control


When the resonant oscillation has been successfully established, the Amplitude Controller should be adjusted for optimal signal to noise (S/ N) ratio or speed performance. This procedure should also be performed after changing the Amplitude Set Point, in order to achieve best performance.
31

OPERATION

PREPARING THE SYSTEM FOR APPROACH / SCAN

- Set the desired operating amplitude with the Set Point potentiometer. (Note that the amplitude signal is equal to the RMS input amplitude at the Detector in input, times ten.) To achieve a high (S/N) ratio, the PLL should internally work with as high a voltage as possible: - Set the Monitor switch on the Controller to Dissipation. - Increase the setting of the Drive out gain switch until the dissipation signal becomes larger than 1 V. - Always decrease the setting of the Amplitude Control P-Gain switch when the setting of the Drive out gain switch is increased and vice versa (if possible). Now optimise the speed of the amplitude control. - Increase the Amplitude Control P-gain until the oscillation becomes unstable. (You generally need an Oscilloscope in order to observe this.) - Reduce the P-gain by about a quarter of a turn.

Preparing the system for approach / scan


You can generally use a shorter setup procedure before tip-sample approach if you continue using the same type of cantilever: - Start the easyPLL plus software if it is not already running. - Click to find the CenterFrq.

- In the Self Oscillation mode, minimize the sensor dissipation by optimising the Phase shift. - When using the frequency shift for Z-feedback, set the frequency shift set point for your experiment. You can determine the set point of the Z-feedback either by entering it by OffsetFrq in the easyPLL plus software, or by adjusting the controls on the optional easyPLL manual controller, and reading the Monitor Offset on the Detector. Typical offset values are -30 Hz to -1 kHz for cantilevers, and -1 Hz to -50 Hz for tuning forks. Now the system is ready to approach and scan.
32

LOCK-IN MODE

OPERATION

Lock-In mode
In the Lock-In mode, the sensor is excited by a signal with constant frequency and amplitude. The sensor vibration amplitude and phase are measured, and can be used for Z-feedback. This mode is commonly called tapping or intermittent contact mode. Using the Lock-In is recommended for sensors with low Q factors. With high-Q cantilevers, the amplitude changes very slowly and the scan speed has to be greatly reduced. When you want to perform Z-feedback on the vibration amplitude: - Connect the Amplitude output of the Controller to the error input of the Z-feedback instead of the Output of the Detector (see Chapter Installing the easyPLL plus system). - If it is not already connected, connect the dF output of the Detector to an Auxiliary input of your scan electronics. Control Setting Mode switch Monitor switch SetPoint Amplitude Const. Drive Amplitude 1V

Amplitude Control Gain: switch x100 potentiometer x1 Phase Shift: switch potentiometer Low pass Drive out Gain 0 0 off x0.1

- Start the easyPLL plus software if it i s not already running. - Select the Lock-In mode using the Operating mode drop-down menu. The signal at the dF and Output BNC connector of the easyPLL plus Detector should now be interpreted as phase information and no longer as frequency deviation.
33

OPERATION

LOCK-IN MODE

- Open the Center frequency search dialog by clicking - Set an appropriate Search range and Frequency step. - Click .

- Select the desired operating point in the resonance curve, and click . To perform measurements with feedback on the vibration amplitude, you can use an operating frequency that is not equal to the resonance frequency: - Enter the desired offset from the resonance frequency in OffsetFrq. Usually a positive frequency shift is used. The offset is chosen so, that the measured sensor vibration amplitude falls to around 90% of its value at resonance. - Define a set point for the amplitude in your scan software and start the approach. The Z-feedback loop now uses the amplitude as the control input. Additionally the phase can be measured using an ADC channel in your data acquisition hardware.

34

THE EASYPLL MAIN WINDOW

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

Software Reference
The easyPLL plus Detector is controlled by the easyPLL plus software. The functions of this software are described in this chapter. It is also possible to control the Detector from other windows software that support COM Classes (in particular the control of COM automation server). This makes it easy to access the full PLL functionality from a customers home made software, LabView, Visual Basic, Windows scripting, Delphi etc.. The installation includes application examples for LabView and Visual Basic. For more information on how to access the easyPLL functions please refer to PDF file easyPLL Programmers Manual that was installed with the easyPLL software.

The easyPLL main window


The following window appears when the easyPLL plus software is started:

easyPLL main dialog

Status panel

The status panel shows the current values of the most important input and output parameters, and important system messages.
35

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

THE EASYPLL MAIN WINDOW

Input: current input frequency and input range. In Lock-In mode, the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) input amplitude is displayed instead of the input frequency. DeltaF: current output value of the dF BNC connector and its output sensitivity. Output: current output value of the Output BNC connector and its output sensitivity. Status: displays the actual system status Locked - PLL is locked to the input frequency - otherwise unlocked). Auto - if Input Auto range is active Neg - if the output polarity is negative Guard - if the output TipGuard feature is on System Messages: System ready - regular operation Searching... - appears during frequency sweep. Input amplitude too high or ... too low The input amplitude is too high or too low for reliable operation. The input amplitude is too high when it is larger than the Amplitude value in the Input section. Input frequency is out of lock range! The input frequency is outside the selected Lock range around the Center frequency. Hardware not detected The Detector has no mains power, the parallel port cable is not correctly connected or the wrong parallel port has been selected in the Configuration dialog. Communication down PC has lost communication with the electronics during operation. Either the Detector has no main power or the parallel port cable is not correctly connected.
36

THE EASYPLL MAIN WINDOW

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

Operating Point

Center freq.: Offset freq.:

The centre frequency of the input signal (usually the sensors resonance frequency). An offset frequency to be added to the Output signal (usually the frequency set-point of the Z-controller). The phase shift between the Reference output and the Internal reference signal used by the phase comparator in the PLL. In the Constant Amplitude and Excitation mode, the phase shift indirectly determines the resonance frequency. In the Lock-In mode, the Phase shift sets the Phase shift between the Reference output and the signal input that corresponds to 0V output signal at the dF output. Opens the Center Frequency search dialog that allows you to set the operating point search parameters and to manually select the operating point from the frequency characteristic of the sensor (see section Center Frequency search dialog).

Phase shift:

Starts a search for the operating point with the search settings defined in the Center Frequency search dialog. In the Self Exciting Oscillation mode, the search algorithm increases the center frequency until the PLL locks, then the Center frequency is set to the vibration frequency of the cantilever. In the Constant Excitation and the Constant Amplitude mode, the search algorithm searches for the steepest change in the Phase versus Frequency shift plot. The search results are displayed graphically when Display results of resonance search is activated in the Configuration dialog.

37

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

THE EASYPLL MAIN WINDOW

Operating Mode

Operating Mode: The operating mode of the system.

The Mode switch on the Controller must be set accordingly when changing this setting. A reminder will appear when the corresponding configuration setting is active. For more information on the various operating modes, see chapters Operating the easyPLL plus system and Theory of Operation. Lock range: The frequency range within which the deviation of the centre frequency is tracked.

The Lock range also determines the resolution and sensitivity of the frequency measurement, see chapter the easyPLL plus, section Technical Data. Bandwidth: The bandwidth of the output signals dF and Output.

For low noise feedback, bandwidth of the output signals can be decreased using a 2nd order low pass filter.

38

THE EASYPLL MAIN WINDOW

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

Input

Amplitude:

The voltage range of the Detectors input amplifier circuit.

When the input voltage is too large or too small, the In Hi or In Lo LED will light up, and a system message is displayed. Note that all other amplitude indicators display RMS amplitude, which is a factor square root of two (0.7) smaller for sinusoidal signals. Auto range:
Output

Enables automatic selection of a suitable voltage range for the input amplifier circuit.

Gain:

The amplitude gain of the output amplifier circuit.

With gain 0.1, the maximum output signal range is 1 V, with the other gains, the range is 10 V. Positive polarity: The output voltage increases when the Frequency shift increases. Activate this box when the Z-controller error should increase when the resonance frequency increases. Changing the state of this box basically changes between attractive and repulsive imaging.

39

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

CENTER FREQUENCY SEARCH DIALOG

TipGuard

Select the behaviour of the system if the PLL circuit can no longer lock into the input frequency in order to prevent the tip from crashing. When the PLL unlocks, the output is set to the maximum to force the z-feedback controller to retract the tip from the surface. Retract tip if unlocked: Activates the TipGuard feature. Positive direction: Increases the output voltage when the PLL unlocks. This box must be active when the sensor moves away from the surface with increasing Output voltage.
Control buttons

Values entered using the keyboard must be confirmed by clicking this button, or by pressing the Enter or Return key on the keyboard. Values changed using the arrow buttons or the cursor keys on the keyboard are automatically confirmed.

: :

Opens the configuration dialog (see section Configuration Dialog). Displays the about dialog box. Here you find the version number of your easyPLL plus software.

Center Frequency search dialog


The Center Frequency search dialog gives you control over the search for the resonance frequency of your sensor. You can use this dialog to manually select the Center Frequency, or to optimise the settings for the Automatic search algorithm for Constant Amplitude and Constant Excitation operating modes.

40

CENTER FREQUENCY SEARCH DIALOG

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

Frequency sweep plots

The Frequency sweep graphs display the measured Root-Mean-Square vibration amplitude and Phase shift as a function of frequency. When the mouse cursor moves over a measured point, the measured values are displayed numerically.
Frequency Range

You can define the frequency range for the sweep by either entering the values of Start and End, or by the entering the values of Center and Span. The other value pair is adjusted automatically according to the latest entry. Sometimes the both pairs will be adjusted because the entry is physically impossible, for example setting Span larger than half the value of Center.

41

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

CENTER FREQUENCY SEARCH DIALOG

Sampling

Frequency step:

The difference in frequency between one measurement point and the next. The maximum number of steps is limited to 1023. The time that the easyPLL plus waits between changing the excitation frequency and measuring the phase. Its value should not be smaller than roughly the Q factor divided by the resonance frequency of the sensor.

Time/step:

Control Buttons

: : : : :
Marker

Has the same effect as the Auto Search button in the main window. Starts measuring the Frequency sweep. Saves the measured amplitude and phase as a function of frequency to a text file. Has the same effect as the Apply button in the main window. Closes the dialog.

The Marker allows you to change the CenterFrq in the easyPLL plus main window: - Move the mouse cursor over one of the Frequency sweep plots to the position of the desired CenterFrq. - Double-click on the desired measured point. The measured values are now displayed in the Freq., Ampl. and Phase displays. - Click to use the displayed point as CenterFrq.

42

CONFIGURATION DIALOG

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

Configuration dialog

User Interface

Display results of auto search: The Center Frequency search dialog is is clicked. opened each time Display reminder on mode change: A reminder is displayed to change the setting of the Mode switch on the Controller each time the Operating Mode is changed.
Communication Settings

Status update rate: Rate at which the PLLs status panel is updated. This rate lies in the range from 10ms to 1000ms. Parallel port:
Calibration

The parallel port used for the communication between PC and electronics.

Quartz frequency: The internal reference clock speed. This value is set automatically during installation and rarely needs adjusting. For fine adjustment of the PLL only.

43

SOFTWARE REFERENCE

CONFIGURATION DIALOG

Phase calibration: The internal phase measurement peak value. This value is set automatically during installation and rarely needs adjusting. For fine adjustment of the PLL only. Amplitude calibration: The maximum measurable RMS amplitude. This value is set automatically during installation and rarely needs adjusting. For fine adjustment of the PLL only.

44

TROUBLESHOOTING

Troubleshooting
The easyPLL digital FM-Detector hardware is not detected by the easyPLL plus software

The easyPLL plus software only supports the easyPLL plus detector. At the time of writing (April 16, 2004), the newest software that supports the easyPLL plus is easyPLL software version 2.5. However, it is recommended to obtain a PLL plus detector, in order to enjoy all the features described in this manual.
The sensor does not oscillate

This could be due to the amplitude characteristic of the sensor. When the quality factor Q is too small to generate self-oscillation. In this case, use the Lock-In mode This could also be due to the phase characteristic of the sensor. When this characteristic has more than one 90 transit within the lock range, the lock in may switch between the frequencies at which this transit occurs. This may for example happen when two different torsional vibration modes are coupled to a normal vibration mode.
The approach process stops immediately after starting it

Check that the polarity of the Detector output is set correctly.


The Detector unlocks during approach

If possible, operate your system in Self Exciting Oscillation or the Constant Excitation mode during approach. If this is not possible, you can write a software procedure that uses the COM-interface of the easyPLL plus software to automatically search for a resonance frequency after the system has unlocked (see easyPLL plus Detector programmers manual).

45

THEORY OF OPERATION

COMPONENTS OF AN EASYPLL PLUS SYSTEM

Theory of Operation
To explain how the easyPLL plus works, first the function of the components of the easyPLL plus system is explained. Then the interplay of these components in the various operating mode can be described, and finally, the relative advantages of the frequency modulation (FM) modes are compared to those of the more conventional Lock-In mode.

Components of an easyPLL plus system


An easyPLL plus system consists of at least a sensor, the Controller and the Detector. The main parts of these components are described here.

The sensor
The sensor is the central component of the system. It consists of three parts: the excitation that turns the excitation signal into a mechanical vibration, the sensor itself and the detector that converts the sensors reaction into an electrical signal. Typical elements used are a piezo actuator for excitation, a silicon cantilever with integrated tip as sensor and a laser deflection system with a split photodiode as detector.
Laser Piezo actuator Cantilever Phase=90 Sample Photodiode Out In

Sensor
Phase=-90

Out

In

When the sensor is approximated as a harmonic oscillator, the amplitude and phase response are given by:

46

COMPONENTS OF AN EASYPLL PLUS SYSTEM

THEORY OF OPERATION

A( f ) =

[1 ( f / f ) ] +[ f /( f Q )]
2 2 0 0

A0

( f ) = tan 1

[1 ( f / f 0 )2]Q f / f0

With Q the so called Q factor of the sensor. The bandwidth of the resonance peak is inversely proportional to the Q factor, resulting in a slower response time of the amplitude for sensors with high Q factors: tresponse = Q / 2 f0 The phase shift on the other hand changes very quickly.

The easyPLL Controller


The Controller consists of two main parts that are connected together and to the various in- and output connectors of the Detector in a different way, depending on the setting of the Mode switch: - An analog phase shifter. This produces a signal that is phase shifted with respect to the reference signal or the Detector in signal. - An Amplitude measurement that consists of an RMS-to-DC converter. - An Amplitude controller, that consists of a PI-controller and a variable gain amplifier (multiplier). The amplification of the amplifier is either determined by the set point, or by the PI-controller, which changes the gain of the variable gain amplifier, so that the amplitude signal produced by the Amplitude measurement is equal to the set-point. A block diagram of all the components in the Controller is given in figure Block diagram of the Controller.

The easyPLL Detector


The Detector consists of three main parts that are connected together and to the various in- and output connectors of the Controller in a different way, depending on the setting of Operating Mode:
47

THEORY OF OPERATION

COMPONENTS OF AN EASYPLL PLUS SYSTEM

Drive out

Dissipation

Amplitude

Detector in

Amp.

diff. Amp

Drive out
x1 x 0.1 x 0.01

Drive Amplifier

40kHz Low Pass

SetPoint
0V .. 10V

off

on

Filter

x10

3 2 1

PI controller

RMS DC

Signal out

on off

x10 x 100 x 1k

x1 .. x11

I-Gain

P-Gain Mode
1 2 3 Self Osc. Const. Ampl. Const. Drive

Phase shifter

+0 +180

+0 +60

0..180

diff. Amp

Phase Ref in

Block diagram of the Controller

- A voltage controlled digital oscillator (VCDO), that produces the reference signal, and an internal signal, that has a digitally set phase shift with respect to the reference signal. - A phase detector, consisting of a multiplier and a low-pass filter. The multiplier multiplies the Input signal with the internal reference signal, resulting in a signal that contains a sin wave with the sum and difference
48

COMPONENTS OF AN EASYPLL PLUS SYSTEM

THEORY OF OPERATION

frequency of its two input frequencies fInput and fRef. The low-pass filter filters out the sum frequency. The output voltage, Ud , of the phase detector varies with the difference frequency according to Ud = sin(2(fInput - fRef) t + nput - Phase shift)/Kd , with nput the phase shift of the Input signal relative to the Ref output. When the Input frequency is the same as the Internal frequency, and the phase difference between the two singals is small, the voltage at the dF BNC is given by UdF = sin(Input - Phase shift)/KdF . The voltage at the Output BNC is then UOutput = (Input - Phase shift)/KOutput + UOffset .

The sensitivities KdF and KOutput of the output signals in deg/V are displayed in the status message area of the easyPLL plus software panel of the corresponding output. - A PI-Controller that can regulate the output frequency of the VCDO using a control voltage UdF. The control voltage is stable when the input and the reference signal have the same frequency and 0 phase difference nput - Phase shift. When both frequencies are the same, and a 0 phase difference has been reached, the loop is 'locked' This function principle is also called Phase-Locked-Loop (PLL). To demonstrate the phase locking capability, lets assume that the input and the reference frequency are the same, but the phase difference is larger than 0. Ud becomes negative and the controller will increase the reference frequency until the reference has caught up in phase with the input, and the Ud becomes zero. To demonstrate the frequency synchronising capability, assume that the phase difference is 0, and fInput becomes larger than fRef . Again the output Ud becomes negative and the controller will increase the fRef until the reference is again the same as fInput. In the following, we assume that the PLL is locked, and fRef =fInput. The signal UdF is output at the BNC connector dF. The relation between UdF and fInput is: UdF = (fInput - CenterFrq + OffsetFrq)/ KDeltaF .
49

THEORY OF OPERATION

OPERATION OF THE EASYPLL PLUS MODES

CenterFrq and OffsetFrq are entered in the easyPLL plus software. The values of UdF KDeltaF and the responsivity KDeltaF are displayed in the status message area of the easyPLL plus software as DeltaF. The value of KDeltaF and thereby the maximum detuning of the reference frequency generator depend on the setting of Lock range: The frequencies in the Lock range are mapped to the +-10 V output range. In addition to the dF connector, the Detector has an Output connector that is meant to be used as the error signal for a Z-feedback loop. Its output voltage, UOutput, is given by UOutput=(fInput - CenterFrq + OffsetFrq + Offset)/KOutput . The responsivity KOutput of the output is displayed in the status message area under Output. A more detailed block diagram of all the components in the detector is given in figure Block diagram of the Detector.

Operation of the easyPLL plus modes


In the following, the implementation of the frequency modulation (FM) modes (Self Exciting Oscillation, Constant Amplitude and Constant Excitation) and the Lock-In method are discussed. Each component and its interaction will be explained using simplified block schematics.

Self Exciting Oscillation mode


In the Self Exciting Oscillation mode, the Controller is configured to feeding the sensor signal back to the sensor excitation. With suitable settings, this feedback will cause the sensor to oscillate at its resonance frequency. The Detector converts changes in resonance frequency to an analog voltage that can be measured, or used for Z-feedback. Simultaneously, the Dissipation output of the Controller provides information about the dissipation of the tip-sample interaction. To achieve the Self Exciting Oscillation, two conditions must be fulfilled: First the multiplied amplification of the sensor element and the feedback element must be equal to 1. Second, the total phase shift of all elements in the excitation loop must be 0.
50

OPERATION OF THE EASYPLL PLUS MODES

THEORY OF OPERATION

Range LED Hi Lo

Mixer Input BNC

Auto Gain Amplifier


Amplitude <10V <1.7V <0.31V <54mV <9mV

Low Pass Filter

PI-Controller

Phase Shift

Ref BNC

Amp.

Voltage Controlled Digital Oscillator

Center Frq

Offset Frq

Lock Range

Parallel Port

PC Interface and Control

0V..10V

Mixer

Output Amplifier
x0.1 x1 x10 x100

Polarity Switch

TipGuard

Low Pass Filter


120Hz 400Hz 1300Hz Operation Mode

Other modes Lock-In Amp. dF BNC

Locked LED

Locked Lock Detector

TipGuard Resonse

Amp.

Output BNC

pos/neg

Offset voltage from easyPLL Manual Controller

Block diagram of the Detector

pos/neg

on/off

51

THEORY OF OPERATION

OPERATION OF THE EASYPLL PLUS MODES

The feedback element consists of two parts: A variable phase shifter which compensates the phase shift of all the other parts in the loop. An amplitude controller that keeps the vibration amplitude constant by varying the amplification of the excitation signal.
Detector as PLL dF

Sensor

Phase shifter

Amplitude Measurement

Amplitude controller

X Dissipation Amplitude

Self Exciting Oscillation mode

When the sensor is oscillating, it will be close to its resonance frequency, because the resonance conditions are most likely to be fulfilled there. The precise vibration frequency depends on the phase shift setting. In order to excite the precise resonance frequency, the phase shift must be set so that the amplification of the excitation signal (dissipation) is minimal, because the sensor responds with maximum amplitude to its resonance frequency. With high quality factor sensors, the self oscillator will start to oscillate by itself as a result of thermal noise. With systems of low quality factor (like measurements in liquids), starting the self exciting oscillation is a problem, as is high frequency noise. These drawbacks are solved in the PLL Resonance modes.

Constant Amplitude mode


The setup for the PLL controlled resonance with constant vibration amplitude uses a modified Phased-Locked-Loop (PLL) circuit. The Detector in this case also supplies the excitation signal (Ref ) for the sensor, as well as the analog voltage proportional to the resonance frequency change.
52

OPERATION OF THE EASYPLL PLUS MODES

THEORY OF OPERATION

dF Detector as PLL Sensor Ref

Amplitude Measurement

Amplitude controller

X Dissipation Amplitude

Constant Amplitude mode

The PLL in the Detector will now change its output frequency until the phase shift between its input signal and excitation output is equal to the phase shift set in the control software. The optimum phase compensation can be deduced from the excitation amplitude, or the steepness of the phase-frequency characteristic. The resonance frequency is reached at minimum driving amplitude and/or at the steepest point in the phase characteristic. The advantage of using the excitation signal from the Detector is that it (usually) has a higher spectral purity than the sensor signal. Moreover, it is able to excite the sensor even at low Q factors because it does not need noise to start the cantilever vibration. The disadvantage of using the excitation signal from the Detector, is that the resonance condition is lost when the resonance frequency shift goes outside the Lock range of the Detector.

Constant Excitation mode


Because amplitude control is neither mandatory nor desired for certain measurements in the PLL operation mode, the amplitude controller in the Controller can be turned off. The PLL is simultaneously the excitation generator and the frequency to voltage converter for the Z-controller. The amplitude controller provides dissipation information of the tip-sample interaction.

53

THEORY OF OPERATION

OPERATION OF THE EASYPLL PLUS MODES

dF Detector as PLL Sensor Ref

Amplitude Measurement

Amplitude controller

Amplitude

Constant Excitation mode

Lock-In mode
With low Q factor sensors, it can be usefull to work in the Lock-In mode (also known as Tapping mode, Intermittent contact mode or Dynamic force mode), and use the measured vibration amplitude or phase for feedback. To operate in this mode the amplitude controller is switched off, and the Amplitude output of the Controller and/or the dF output of the Detector can be measured. The Detector now simultaneously acts as a Sine generator that excites the sensor, and as a Lock-In Amplifier that measures the phase response of the sensor.
Phase Detector dF

Sensor

Sine Ref Generator

Amplitude Measurement

Amplitude controller

Amplitude

Lock-In mode

54

CHOOSING AN OPERATING MODE.

THEORY OF OPERATION

Choosing an Operating mode.


To explain why the frequency modulation (FM) modes are usefull, we should first discuss the conventional measurement mode (Lock-In mode, also known as Tapping mode, Intermittent contact mode or Dynamic force mode).

Lock-In mode or FM-mode ?


In conventional AFMs, measurements are performed with constant excitation frequency. A sinus generator is used to excite the sensor (cantilever) and the resulting vibration is measured. The force interaction between the sensor and the sample causes the resonance frequency to shift, and the resulting change in amplitude and the phase response of the sensor can be measured using a Lock-In amplifier. Either the phase, or the amplitude can be used for topography feedback with a Z-distance controller of the scan electronics. The advantages of this approach are its simple design and application. Nevertheless it has severe drawbacks: To increase the force sensitivity, sensors with higher quality factors (Q factors) are used. With these sensors, the response time of the amplitude to resonance frequency changes is increased. Thus, the maximum possible scan speed is decreased. The response time of the phase does not suffer from this problem, but the phase shift is not clearly assignable to changes in tip-sample distance and hence is difficult to use for controlling of the tip-sample distance. When the change in the resonance frequency is large compared to the width of the resonance peak, the feedback signal saturates, and even changes sign in the case of amplitude feedback. This problem becomes more severe when using high Q factors. Both the amplitude and the phase signal are a mixture of two pieces of information: firstly the tip sample interaction (distance) and secondly the quality factor of the resonator. Thus a variation of the tip-sample distance or a change in the quality factor cant be distinguished; both may alter the phase response (see figure Lock-In mode signals).
55

THEORY OF OPERATION

CHOOSING AN OPERATING MODE.

-10.00

R3 R2 R1
Gain [dB]

-30.00

-50.00

-70.00 10k 0.0 -45.0 -90.0 -135.0 -180.0 10k 100k F_Osc [Hz] 1M 100k 1M

Phase [deg]

R1 R2 R3

-10.00

Gain [dB]

-30.00

Q1 Q2 Q3

-50.00

-70.00 10k 0.0 -45.0 -90.0 -135.0 -180.0 10k 100k F_Osc [Hz] 1M 100k 1M

56

Lock-In mode signals: Changes in resonance frequency and Q factor influence both the measured amplitude and the measured phase.

Phase [deg]

Q1 Q2 Q3

CHOOSING AN OPERATING MODE.

THEORY OF OPERATION

With the FM modes, the sensor always vibrates at its resonance frequency, and changes in the vibration frequency and vibration/excitation amplitude are measured. In the FM mode of operation, the phase response of the sensor is used to control the sensors vibration frequency: The vibration frequency is always adjusted so that the phase shift corresponds to the phase shift at resonance. In a second order harmonic oscillator, this phase shift is 90 (see figure Resonant oscillation). This is independent of the sensors quality factor, because the resonance curves at different quality factors all intersect at the resonance frequency at a 90 phase shift (see figure Resonant oscillation). Moreover, the phase shift, and resonance frequency change instantaneously when the tip-sample interaction changes. The FM modes thus eliminate several drawbacks of the conventional Lock-In method: The scan speed can be high even with high quality factors, because the systems response speed is independent of the sensors quality factor. The resonance frequency shift does not saturate for large tip sample interactions. There is a better separation between topography and other sample properties. The resonance frequency shift is a measure for the conservative tip-sample interaction and the sensors amplitude damping is a measure for the dissipative tip-sample interaction. When one signal is used for topography feedback (usually the resonance frequency shift), the physical interpretation of other signal is more straightforward. For these reasons, use the Lock-In mode only for measurements with low Q factor sensors.

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THEORY OF OPERATION

CHOOSING AN OPERATING MODE.

-10.00

R3 R2 R1
Gain [dB]

-30.00

-50.00

-70.00 10k 0.0 -45.0 -90.0 -135.0 -180.0 10k

100k

1M

Phase [deg]

1M
Tracking Oscillator [Hz]

-10.00

Gain [dB]

-30.00

D1 D2 D3

-50.00

-70.00 10k 0.0 -45.0 -90.0 -135.0 -180.0 10k 100k F_Osc [Hz] 1M 100k 1M

Phase [deg]
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FM-mode signals: Changes in resonance frequency only influence the tracking, changes in Q factor only influence the amplitude/dissipation

LITERATURE

THEORY OF OPERATION

Which FM mode should be used?


The choice between the resonant oscillation modes depends on several factors. On the one hand, Constant Amplitude and Constant Excitation modes offer the best signal to noise (S/N) ratio. On the other hand, the Self Exciting Oscillation mode is more robust against large changes in resonance frequency and amplitude when used with high Q sensors. Therefore, we suggest choosing the operation mode depending on the sensors Q: Q > 100000: The S/N ratio difference between the Self Exciting Oscillation and Constant Amplitude and Excitation modes becomes negligible. 500 < Q < 100000: Constant Amplitude or Excitation mode offer a better S/N ratio. Q < 500: Constant Amplitude or Excitation mode should be used, because it becomes difficult to sustain self exciting oscillation when the Q factor is low. The relative advantages of the controlled vibration mode and the constant drive mode are still a matter of scientific debate. The measurement results for controlled vibration mode are easier to understand theoretically, whereas the operation of the constant drive mode is simpler to operate, and thus more reliable. The controlled vibration mode is generally preferred in European countries and the USA, whereas the constant drive mode is preferred in Japan.

Literature
1) Introduction of using FM-Method: T.R. Albrecht, P. Grtter, D. Horner, and D. Rugar, J. Appl. Phys. 69, 668 (1991). 2) Dynamic force microscopy by means of the phase-controlled oscillator method - a comparison between Self Exciting Oscillation mode and Constant Amplitude mode. U. Drig, H.R. Steinauer and N. Blanc, J. Appl. Phys. 82, 3641 (1997).

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THEORY OF OPERATION

LITERATURE

3) Phase Locked Loop - Design, Simulation, & Applications, Roland E. Best, McGraw Hill, ISBN-0-07-006051-7. 4) A direct method to calculate tip-sample forces from frequency shifts in frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy. F.J. Giessibl, Appl. Phys. Lett. 78, 123-125 (2001). 5) Introduction of using AM-Method: Y. Matin, C.C. Williams, H.K. Wikramasinghe, J. Appl. Phys. 61, 4723 (1987).

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