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Nanotechnology, a relatively recent development, is already a rapidly expanding applied science. Breakthroughs in the late 20th century, particularly in the field of surface imaging at the atomic level, have enabled scientists and engineers to make significant technological advances in a diverse range of industrial sectors. This includes, communications, food science, medicine, microelectronics, environmental science, biology, transportation, energy, aerospace, and much more.

The key advantage of nanotechnology is that it makes it possible to adapt the structures of materials, at an exceedingly small scale, to deliver specific properties that extend the materials capabilities. For example, materials can be made stronger and lighter. Surface treatments can be used to reduce friction or to help make objects more durable. Materials can be developed that deliver better electrical conduction or have altered magnetic properties. Nanotechnology has allowed the development of smaller and smaller transistors, reducing electronic component sizes while increasing their capacity. The technology offers the opportunity to enhance a materials performance and usability and, as such, has already found its application in an ever expanding array of commercial products.

Spectrum digitizers and AWG's can play a key role in nanotechnology research and development. Their ability to acquire or generate precision electronic signals allows them to be utilized in a wide variety of ways. For example, Spectrum digitizers offer the high bandwidths (up to 1.5 GHz) and fast sampling rates (up to 5 GS/s) that are needed to acquire and analyze electronic signals from DC to the GHz range. Their versatile signal conditioning and high resolution analog-to-digital conversion capabilities (up to 16 bits) also allows them to detect and measure extremely small, low level signals. Similarly, for situations were precise, stable, high dynamic range signal generation is required Spectrum AWG's can be deployed to deliver exceptionally versatile performance.

Spectrum Product Features

  • 8, 14 and 16 Bit Resolution
  • Digitizers with sampling rates up to 10 GS/s and Bandwidth over 1.5 GHz
  • AWGs with output rates up to 1.25 GS/s
  • Optional amplifiers for low level signal monitoring
  • Versatile waveform generation with fast sequential replay modes

Matching Card Families

A/D family
Sample rate
6.40 GS/s - 10 GS/s
12 Bit
A/D family
Sample rate
130 MS/s - 400 MS/s
14 Bit 16 Bit
D/A family
Sample rate
625 MS/s - 1.25 GS/s
16 Bit
A/D family
Sample rate
1.25 GS/s - 5 GS/s
8 Bit

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The Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is an important tool in materials science and used for mechanical scanning of surfaces. The forces acting between the atoms of the surface and the tip of a nanoscopic needle are measured and calculated giving resolutions in the order of fractions of a nanometer. Now, the University of Newcastle in Australia is improving and simplifying these complex machines, so that a wider use in laboratories worldwide will be possible. In this sophisticated research, an 8-channel Spectrum digitizerNETBOX provides the high precision needed to push the evolution of AFMs

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MPI in Cancer Research

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Drug Delivery for Cancer Treatment

The University of Leeds and the Leeds Institute of Medical Research, Leeds, U.K. are studying the use of nanobubbles as a drug delivery agent for cancer treatment. A Spectrum M4i.4420-x8, 250 MS/s, 16-bit Digitizer is used as the data acquisition card that collect acoustic emission signals. A paper discussing the research can be found here:

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Position Measurement of a Levitated Nanoparticles

At the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei researchers are using an M4i.4421-x8 250 MS/s, 16 bit digitizer to help them study methods for position measurement of a levitated nanoparticles. A paper discussing their research can be found here:

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Test of two-quibit Quantum Processor

At the QuTech and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands they are using an M4i.44xx series digitizer to test a programmable two-qubit quantum processor in silicon. Find out how by clicking here:

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Electron Spin Resonance (ESR)

Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) is a key technique for the study of the structure and dynamics of molecular systems. At the Walter Schottky Institute of the Technical University Munich they are using a Spectrum M4i.4451-x8 digitizer card to help detect, acquire and analyze spin echoes in a pulsed ESR system. A white paper summarizing the experimental setup and results is available here:

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Non-Invasive Cancerous Tissue Treatment

Click below to find out how the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, UK, are using a Spectrum M4i.4420-x8 high-resolution digitizer, plasmonic gold nanorods and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to improve non-invasive techniques for the treatment of cancerous tissue

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Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy

In Rehovot, Israel at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Chemical and Biological Physics, they are using the M2p.6541-x4 40 MS/s, 16-bit AWG and M2p.5923-x4 20 MS/s, 16-bit Digitizer cards for signal generation and acquisition in Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM). A white paper that discusses flexible STEM, with simultaneous phase and depth contrast, is available here

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Atomic Force Microscope (AFM

The State Key Laboratory of Robotics, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China is using an M2p.5923-x4 20 Ms/s, 16-bit Digitizer in an atomic force microscope (AFM) for real-time lossless acquisition of high-throughput multichannel signals. The institute is developing a data processing and multidimensional mechanical information extraction algorithms for the composite mode of peak force tapping and torsional resonance. A white paper on the research can be found here:

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Surface Spin-Wave Pulses

Find out how the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, is using a high-speed Spectrum Digitizer M4i.2234-x8 to acqure and analyze time-resolved measurements of surface spin-wave pulses at millikelvin temperatures by clicking here:

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Nanopore Analysis

At the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, South China University of Technology, China, they are using a Spectrum M4x.6621-x4 AWG as a precision waveform generator for their research into a Fourier Transform Induced Data Process for Label-free Selective Nanopore Analysis under Sinusoidal Voltage Excitations. A research paper with supplementary documentation showing the experimental setup is available here:

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Electron-Beam Induced Deposition

See how Spectrum AWG's M2i.6021-exp are used in Electron-Beam Induced Deposition (EBID) at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, by clicking here:

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Imaging of tiny Currents in Bilayer Graphene

At the Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, they are creating images of microampere currents in bilayer graphene using a scanning diamond magnetometer. Research papers, which includes experiments that demonstrate the feasibility for imaging subtle features of nanoscale transport in two-dimensional materials and conductors, can be found here and here. The system is using a DN2.663-04 1.25 GS/s, 16-bit AWG as a signal source to generate all the necessary analog and digital control signals

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Single-particle distance measurements

At ETH Zurich, Switzerland, they are researching ways to achieve single-particle distance measurements. A research paper, foudn below, shows two complementary approaches based on spin–spin coupling or optical super-resolution imaging. In one approach a DN2.663-04 1.25 GS/s, 16 bit AWG is used as a multi-channel signal source in an ODMR/DEER microscope setup.

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