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Accurate velocity measurements of AFM-cantilever vibrations by Doppler interferometry

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jose Portoles, Professor Peter Cumpson, Dr John Hedley


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Doppler velocimetry is widely used in the measurement of nanometre resonance vibrations of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). It has excellent sensitivity and precision, but typical engineering applications do not require traceability of these velocity measurements to the SI system. While Doppler velocimetry is, in principle, easy to make traceable to the velocity of light, in practice a frequency-to-voltage conversion in common commercial instruments breaks this traceability unless calibrated. Typically, though, calibration is performed at a much lower frequency than those typical of MEMS devices, without the guarantee that the calibration is applicable in this higher frequency regime. We present a method of traceable measurement of velocity in terms of the velocity of light, valid for the range of frequency and nanometre amplitudes typical of MEMS devices driven to resonance vibration. This is achieved by analysis of sideband amplitudes in the interference spectrum before demodulation of the Doppler signal. These sideband amplitudes can conveniently be measured using a benchtop spectrum analyser, a piece of widely available electrical test equipment. We illustrate the method with measurements on individual AFM cantilevers. In combination with cantilever calibration methods based on MEMS devices this method enables traceable calibration of those cantilevers employed for the measurement of pico-and nanonewton forces between individual biomolecules.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Portoles JF, Cumpson PJ, Hedley J, Allen S, Williams PM, Tendler SJB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Experimental Nanoscience

Year: 2006

Volume: 1

Issue: 1

Pages: 51-62

ISSN (print): 1745-8080

ISSN (electronic): 1745-8099

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/17458080500411999


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