High-speed imaging upgrade for a standard sample scanning atomic force microscope using small cantilevers
We present an atomic force microscope (AFM) head for optical beam deflection on small cantilevers. Our AFM head is designed to be small in size, easily integrated into a commercial AFM system, and has a modular architecture facilitating exchange of the optical and electronic assemblies. We present two different designs for both the optical beam deflection and the electronic readout systems, and evaluate their performance. Using small cantilevers with our AFM head on an otherwise unmodified commercial AFM system, we are able to take tapping mode images approximately 5-10 times faster compared to the same AFM system using large cantilevers. By using additional scanner turnaround resonance compensation and a controller designed for high-speed AFM imaging, we show tapping mode imaging of lipid bilayers at line scan rates of 100-500 Hz for scan areas of several micrometers in size.