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Review of Scientific Instruments

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Field programmable gate arrays, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Atmospheric pressure


The increasing popularity of nanometrology and nanospectroscopy has pushed researchers to develop complex new analytical systems. This paper describes the development of a platform on which to build a microscopy tool that will allow for flexibility of customization to suit research needs. The novelty of the described system lies in its versatility of capabilities. So far, one version of this microscope has allowed for successful near-field and far-field fluorescence imaging with single molecule detection sensitivity. This system is easily adapted for reflection, polarization (Kerr magneto-optical (MO)), Raman, super-resolution techniques, and other novel scanning probe imaging and spectroscopic designs. While collecting a variety of forms of optical images, the system can simultaneously monitor topographic information of a sample with an integrated tuning fork based shear force system. The instrument has the ability to image at room temperature and atmospheric pressure or under liquid. The core of the design is a field programmable gate array (FPGA) data acquisition card and a single, low cost computer to control the microscope with analog control circuitry using off-the-shelf available components. A detailed description of electronics, mechanical requirements, and software algorithms as well as examples of some different forms of the microscope developed so far are discussed.


This is the publisher's final pdf. Article appears in Review of Scientific Instruments ( and copyrighted (2011) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

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