Posted in | Control Systems

R9 SPM Control System for all SPM Modes and Techniques from RHK Technology

The unique R9 from RHK Technology is constructed based on nearly 25 years of technological expertise in scanning probe microscopy. The R9 offers a highly integrated control system for all SPM modes and processes such as STM, STS mapping, STS, force-distance, contact, intermittent contact, qPlus, EFM, MFM, C-AFM and KFM.

Well-designed software handles all connections between modes, eliminating the use of multiple signal-degrading cables. The R9 contains all of the components needed for measurement modes, including the most advanced, such as lock-in amplifiers, pulse generators and signal generators, high voltage amplifiers, PLLs, digital filters, and additional feedback loops.

Key Features

  • Can work with any SPM
  • Excellent signal quality is provided by the all digital, purpose-built hardware
  • Time-based data acquisition with all parameter changes recorded in real-time
  • One-box integration for complete AFM, STM and even KFM control
  • Rapid transient measurement: 10 ns
  • RHK’s patented IHDL™ for easy, drag-and-drop setup of parts that automatically connect and validate
  • Patented, completely synced, lock-ins and PLLs
  • Analog bandwidth of 20MHz for high frequency/harmonics detection
  • Lightning-fast crash proof tip-sample approach


Most microscopes can be connected to the R9

Many kits are available to interface the user’s SPM to the R9 controller. Users can interface their RHK, Bruker (Veeco), Asylum, Omicron, JEOL, Unisoku, Park, Agilent-Keysight (Molecular Imaging), Nanomagnetics, Qprobe, Nanonics or home-built microscope to R9. Interface modules are offered for stepper motor driven and piezo motor tip-sample approach.

Multiple capabilities

The R9 offers some unique capabilities that appear to be contradictory. For example, the R9 has a noise floor of just a few nV/vHz but an analog bandwidth of nearly 20MHz. Superior low noise and high dynamic range is possible with the R9, which enables continuous generation and measurement of signals from microvolts to volts, as well as the generation and demodulation of frequencies from mHz to 20MHz.

This broad dynamic range allows improved performance without the need for the repeated fine tuning of operating parameters which was the case with previous generations of SPM control units.

Superior signal quality

All analog signals are efficiently converted into digital as near to the source as possible, making them resistant to external crosstalk and noise. The signal’s purity and the stability of the electronics are essential for all SPM applications. Matched and improved sophisticated electronics yield an input noise of 6nV/√Hz.

Excellent spectroscopy

The combination of outstanding electronics and stability allows ramping any combination of signals whilst at the same time measuring many channels. The total range of voltage spectroscopies (I/V, dI/dV, etc.) and Z-spectroscopies (FvZ, dC/dZ, etc.) are fully implemented with the accuracy and sensitivity of oversampling.

The user now has exceptional flexibility to obtain single point measurements, or during scanning to obtain a grid or line of spectra whilst avoiding creep, drift and hysteresis.

Outstanding STS maps

The R9 is designed to allow both optimized spectroscopic data and high quality topographic images. It can adjust the bias modulation, feedback and other imaging parameters individually for spectroscopic and topographic measurements. By using the R9 for STS maps it is possible for up to 10 threshold slices to be displayed in real time.


RHK’s UltraADCs™ offers huge oversampling at 100MHz yielding a resolution of up to 24 bits at acquisition speeds practical for actual measurements. This helps to remove noise, complexity and non-linearity of summing junctions, multiple DACs, and external oscillators.

The R9 outputs utilize UltraDAC technology so to allow modulation of all outputs, such as all piezo elements and bias voltage, and at the same time synchronously identifying any input signals with the in-built lock-ins and PLLs. The R9’s multi-speed data path offers the opportunity for both high speed and high accuracy measurements with suitable synchronization.

With the time-based data acquisition architecture of the R9, every data point during an experiment can be collected.

Neat user interface

As not all SPM users are experts in SPM controllers, the R9 interface is designed with a completely configurable software. It is easy to use and eliminates BNC connections between modules. It also offers experimental flexibility.

Lightning fast fail-safe tip-sample approach

The R9’s architecture and capabilities allow the use of AC capacitance to manage tip sample approach. The R9’s rapid, fail-safe tip-sample processes are vital, mainly for use in experiments when the tip-sample junction is not visible. This allows the R9 to greatly increase productivity by reducing tip crashes.

Iconic hardware description language (IHDL)

The IHDL™ graphical drag-and-drop hardware configurator offers quick, customized systems of any complexity. The user just has to select and graphically connect hardware icons for DACs, lock-ins, ADCs, PLLs etc.

The R9 is capable of automatically configuring and connecting when a template is implemented. The graphical drag-and-drop experiment procedure designer is simple. This allows beginners to use it easily and offers total flexibility for experts. Pre-configured experimental templates are also available to enable a quick set-up.

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