Phoenix AFM Controller

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Short Description
  • The new Phoenix AFM Controller has been developed to expand the functionality of scanning probe microscopes.

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Product Overview
  • The new Phoenix AFM Controller has been developed to expand the functionality of scanning probe microscopes. MultiMode and Dimension (Bruker Corp) are the most popular instruments in research laboratories worldwide. Mechanical and functional designs of the microscopes have proved their unbeatable operation for 20+ years, yet the overall performance of these devices have become outdated as the means of electronic and software instrument control have substantially advanced. Now this shortcoming is overcome with the introduction of the Phoenix controller made by SPM Labs.

    Development of the controller has now also been further extended, taking the flexible design of the Phoenix to allows it to interface with other commercial and home-made microscopes. The implementations of FPGA-based digital control, high-speed data acquisition capabilities and software innovations offer superb AFM functionality.

    By combining the FPGA-based Phoenix controller with an existing microscope, a user will have access to 5 major AFM modes. They include Contact Mode (CM), resonant oscillatory modes: Amplitude Modulation with Phase Imaging - AM-PI (tapping mode), Amplitude Modulation with Frequency Imaging (AM-FI), Frequency Modulation with Amplitude Imaging (FM-AI), and non-resonance oscillatory mode - Dynamic Contact Mode (D-CM). Latest addition is Scanning Thermal Noise Microscopy, which is based on tracking of no-excitation contact resonances. All these modes have a large number of off-springs dedicated to quantitative studies of mechanical, electrical, thermal and other properties.

    A open software architecture provides unlimited capabilities for users who are interested in developing custom modifications of hardware and software.

  • Main Board

    • Xilinx Zynq System on a Chip, with Dual 667 MHz ARM® Cortex®-A9 MPCore™ with CoreSight™ running Linux-based real-time OS, with Artix™-7 FPGA, 85 K Logic Cells for digital signal processing.
    • 3 channels of 40 MHz 16 bit ADCs each high speed input has the selection of AC or DC coupling with a 16 bit offset DAC and analog programmable gains from 1 to 1024, so the noise is not limited by the ADC, but by the front end signal noise.
    • 3 channels of 40 MHz 16 bit DACs, these high speed DACs also are configured with 16 bit Gain and Offset DACs, to deliver precise control even at small amplitudes.
    • 8 channels of 1 MHz 18 bit ADCs, these are for closed loop and other auxiliary analog inputs

    High-Voltage Module

    • The High Voltage Module for the MultiMode™, Dimension 3100 (Bruker) series microscopes output range ±220 Volt signals for ±X, ±Y, ±Z, and an optional auxiliary high voltage generator output ±45 Volts
    • 3 triple DACs 135 kHz for X, Y, and Z axis control, nominally 32 bit resolution, noise limit of < 1 ppm of full scale at the High Voltage Output.
    • For a MultiMode microscope using a 100 um scanner the voltage noise would translate to < 0.05 Å in Z and < 1 Å in X, Y.

    Interface Board

    • The Interface boards are available now for the MultiMode™ and Dimension 3100 microscopes (Bruker). These boards connect from the original manufacturer standard interface connectors to our interface bus. This is designed to be easily adaptable. For Value Added Retail customers even the case can easily be changed to better match your products.


    • USB 2 interface to host computer (Gigabit Ethernet already implemented in hardware - future option)

    Size and Weight

    • W 29 cm D 39 cm H 39 cm, 11 kg
    • 11.5 in x 15.5 in x 15.5 in, 23 lbs


    • 100-240 VAC 50/60 Hz


    • The standard modes supported on the Multimode: Contact Mode; Resonant oscillatory mode: Amplitude Modulation with Phase Imaging (AM-PI) (aka Tapping), Non-Resonant Oscillatory mode - Dynamic Contact Mode (aka Pulsed Force, etc).
    • New PLL related modes: Amplitude Modulation with Frequency Imaging (AM-FI), Frequency Modulation with Amplitude Imaging (FM-AI); and Scanning Thermal Noise Microscopy.

    Operating Systems

    • Windows 7 or 10

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