Doctoral Dissertations

Keywords and Phrases

Atomic Force Microscopy; Nanomanufacturing; Plowing; Process Control; Repetitive Control


“Atomic force microscope (AFM) is one of the important and versatile tools available in the field of nanotechnology. It is a type of probe-based microscopy wherein an atomically sharp tip, mounted on the free end of a microcantilever, probes the surface of interest to generate 3D topographical images with nanoscale resolution. An integral part of the AFM is the feedback controller that regulates the probe deflection in the presence of surface height changes, enabling the control action to be used for generating topographical image of the sample. Besides sensing, the probe can also be used as a mechanical actuator to manipulate nanoparticles and fabricate nanoscale structures. Despite its capabilities, AFM is not considered user-friendly because imaging is slow, and fabrication operations are laborious and often performed in open-loop, i.e. without any monitoring mechanism. This dissertation is composed of two journal articles which aim to address prominent AFM challenges using feedback control strategies. First article proposes a novel control design methodology based on repetitive control technique to accurately track AFM samples. Theoretical and experimental results demonstrate that incorporating a model of the general sample topography in the control design leads to superior tracking in AFM. Second article introduces a novel dual-probe AFM (DP-AFM) design that has two independent probes. Such a setup provides an opportunity to implement process control strategies where one probe can be used to perform one of the many AFM operations while the other probe can provide feedback by imaging the process. To demonstrate this capability, an application involving real-time plowing depth control where plow depth is controlled with nanometer-level accuracy is also presented”--Abstract, page iv.


Bristow, Douglas A.

Committee Member(s)

Landers, Robert G.
Sarangapani, Jagannathan, 1965-
Kinzel, Edward C.
Brow, Richard K.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering


The author would like to acknowledge the financial support from the National Science Foundation (CMMI-1229701) and the Intelligent Systems Center (ISC) at Missouri S&T.

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2017

Journal article titles appearing in thesis/dissertation

  • A quasi-repetitive controller for accurate imaging in atomic force microscopy
  • Design and control of a dual-probe atomic force microscope


xi, 96 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references.


© 2017 Muthukumaran Loganathan, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11808

Electronic OCLC #