Auto-tuning PI controller for surface tracking in atomic force microscopy - A practical approach

Dominik Kohl*, Thomas Riel, Rudolf Saathof, Juergen Steininger, Georg Schitter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Correct tuning of feedback gains is important for AFMs to cope with uncertainties of the system dynamics coming from a large range of different samples, cantilevers and scan parameters. For state of the art AFMs gains have to be adjusted manually by the operator. The typical operator such as biologist, physicist or material scientist may not have detailed knowledge about control engineering. In order to increase usability and acceptance an easy and intuitive approach is needed. The method presented in this paper is based on the commonly applied manual tuning strategy for AFM-imaging and copies the behavior of an experienced user. By spectral analysis ringing of the feedback loop is detected when feedback gains are increased beyond the stability margins. Increasing gains is stopped when an 1/f stop criteria is reached. The algorithm is successfully tested in simulation and practical AFM topography measurements with different cantilever - sample combinations, demonstrating that auto-tuning can be applied to achieve imaging performance close to ideal settings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 American Control Conference, ACC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781467386821
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 American Control Conference, ACC 2016 - Boston, United States
Duration: 6 Jul 20168 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Conference2016 American Control Conference, ACC 2016
CountryUnited States


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