Zurich Instruments Newsletter - Edition Q2/2015
- Visit us this week!
- Reduce Lab Setup Complexity: The Graphical Lock-in Amplifier
- Tips and Tricks: PID Advisor and Auto tune
- Premium Customer Care: Noise Spec Reduction for UHFLI
- Premium Customer Care: Travel Grant Winners and Workshop Sponsorships
- Premium Customer Care: LabOne 15.01
- Company Agenda
Visit us this week!
In this edition we reveal one of the great new features we'll be adding to LabOne with the next release. The graphical lock-in tab offers a new way of controlling your Zurich Instruments lock-in, with a schematic view that will benefit experienced and new users alike. We'll also take a look at the new features we added with the recent release of LabOne 15.01, including additions to the PID/PLL option for the UHFLI. If you still haven't updated your instrument's software go to the ZI software download page to get started.
In the last newsletter we launched our new Student Travel Grants and Scientific Workshop Sponsorships and this time we're delighted to announce the awardees. Workshop sponsorships are still available for 2015 and we'll be making more travel grants available for 2016.
Finally, take a moment to review our company agenda for the next few months. If you're at any of these events, remember to come and visit the Zurich Instruments booth and enjoy some Swiss chocolate!
Reduce Lab Setup Complexity
The Graphical Lock-in Amplifier
After the amazing response to the launch of the MFLI 500 kHz / 5 MHz Lock-in Amplifier, we would like to give a few additional insights into this fantastic new instrument. We've designed this lock-in amplifier with the aim of providing the same software that has been developed for high-end instruments to low frequency users as well. Here we're talking about LabOne, which includes an advanced and intuitive look-and-feel user interface. The capability of working with multiple high-resolution monitors, displaying tools and settings at will, has already been adopted by many laboratories in the world. With the availability of LabOne on the MFLI, many more researchers will now have access to the unique user interface and to the most open programming interfaces that the test & measurement market has ever seen.
With the next LabOne release we are going to introduce the graphical lock-in control, demonstrating again our technology leadership. This is part of our ongoing effort to help reduce the complexity of your lab setup, and it consists of a schematic based instrument control capability. It works on standard computer screens as well as touch devices and enables the user to work faster, more intuitively and receive a more comprehensive overview of their measurement unit.
Experience the Benefits
The graphical lock-in tab will be available in the LabOne user interface for our MFLI and UHFLI products. It will offer:
- Fast ramp-up: the ideal way of getting started with the instrument
- Simplified documentation of setup settings
- Ideal for education and teaching
- Reduction in complexity for many applications
- Reduced switching between UI tabs
- Improved overview as settings are combined with readouts
Easy to Use
We believe that buttons on instrument front panels are a thing of the past - how many buttons can a front panel accommodate anyway? Usually a physical button has many functions allocated to it, i.e. 1 button = many functions, which is complex and counter intuitive. Moreover, competitors will not be able to convince us that working on a small VGA resolution screen is an attractive proposition when one can use a screen with WUXGA resolution.
The graphical UI is today's way of working, with graphics that scale and adapt to any screen resolution and where 1 control element = 1 function. We believe it's as simple as that.
Zurich Instruments' LabOne lets the entire real estate of a screen be used, allowing more information to be shown and offering more data analysis capability. Its UI scales dynamically to any screen resolution and supports multiple synchronized screens. Moreover, readability at long distances is provided by the simple zoom function of your web browser - up to 400% - meaning you can check your data from across the other side of the lab. LabOne allows you to use your resources smartly.
Tips and Tricks
PID Advisor and Auto tune
With the advent of LabOne 15.01, a dream for many students, post-docs and professors alike came true: the PID controller that provides self explanatory guidance to setup control loops efficiently with a pre-defined loop filter bandwidth. This has been achieved by extending the PID Advisor capability of the UHF-PID Quad PID/PLL option with a wide range of device under test (DUT) models that mimic both the attached experiment and the different transfer functions inside the UHFLI depending on the PID input and output parameters. Until now only people trying to map an external frequency to one of the internal oscillators, by means of a Phase-Locked-Loop (PLL), enjoyed the merits of such an Advisor to setup the control loop with an adjustable servo loop bandwidth. With the additional DUT models applications like
- optical PLLs (i.e. the phase stable locking of two lasers)
- carrier envelope offset stabilization in frequency combs and
- automatic gain control
are now much more easily implemented. The different model parameters are conveniently accessible in the LabOne user interface. A visual display of the model transfer functions and step responses between various points of the control loop help to gain a thorough understanding of the experiment when compared to the data retrieved from the experiment, obtained using the Software Trigger or the Sweeper tools.
For many applications a control loop with a predetermined loop filter bandwidth is only the starting point from where further optimization is needed. There is a variety of different ways to achieve optimal control but for most applications it is sufficient to minimize the root mean square of the PID error, i.e. the PID input signal minus the PID set point. In particular, in experimental setups with variable and highly non-linear components (e.g. lasers), the required set of parameters can change on a regular basis. With LabOne 15.01 this process can now be left entirely to the new Auto Tune feature, which varies an adjustable set of loop filter parameters in order to achieve minimum PID error. Over the course of these adjustments the effective loop filter bandwidth can change substantially.
Quick and easy robust locking
The combination of the PID Advisor and Auto Tune with the Phase Unwrap to ±64 π allows for excellent and robust lock performance within a few clicks. Moreover, the LabOne toolset offers a full characterization in time and frequency domain plus a visual comparison to either of the various model functions.
Premium Customer Care
Noise Spec Reduction for UHFLI
With the release of LabOne 15.01 we also adjusted one of the major specification parameters of the UHFLI Lock-in Amplifier: the typical input noise at 100 kHz is now 4 nV/√Hz instead of 5 nV/√Hz. This parameter is crucial in determining the signal-to-noise ratio for a given measurement time and is of great importance to most users and for many applications. The UHFLI has by far the largest input bandwidth of any lock-in amplifier in the market today and at the same time indisputably the best performance regarding noise and dynamic reserve.
When the UHFLI was introduced just over 2 years ago we decided to start with a conservative value to make sure we kept our specification promises. With many batches produced and operating in a wide range of applications, we have now gained sufficient statistics to confidently adjust the specified noise parameter. There were no changes made to the hardware and all existing and future customers benefit from the same great performance.
Premium Customer Care
Travel Grant Winners and Workshop Sponsorships
In our 2015-Q1 newsletter we announced the first Zurich Instruments Travel Grant. We are frequent travelers ourselves and acknowledge the importance of meeting other scientists around the world. With this travel grant Zurich Instruments supports young scientists in an act of giving back to the scientific community. Selected for their original approach, scientific value and high level of contribution, the three winners of this year are:
Michael Ruppert from the University of Newcastle, Australia, receives a travel grant for his work on atomic-force microscopy, where he used an HF2LI Lock-in Amplifier to verify his model of the tip-sample interaction: “Direct Tip-Sample Force Estimation for High-Speed Dynamic Mode Atomic Force Microscopy”, IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, vol 13:6
Bradley Hauer from Prof. John P. Davis's lab, University of Alberta, Canada, receives the travel grant for his method of coupling light in and out of on-chip optical resonators, where he depended on an HF2LI Lock-in Amplifier for his measurements: “On-chip cavity optomechanical coupling”, EPJ Techniques and Instrumentation 2014, vol 1:4
Fatemeh Fani Sani of the University of Alberta, Canada, receives a travel grant for her work on multifrequency nanomechanical detection of AC susceptibility, where she used an HF2LI Lock-in Amplifier with the HF2LI-MF Multi Frequency Option: “Nanomechanical AC susceptometry of an individual mesoscopic ferrimagnet“, Solid State Communications, vol 198
Our winners have won a grant of CHF 1,500.00 to travel to one of our attended conferences around the world. We are curious to see where they choose to go and will keep you updated on our social media platforms. So keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook.
Didn’t win this time? Try again next year! Here you can find the criteria to be eligible for one of our Travel Grants:
PhD student having published a paper explicitly mentioning Zurich Instruments instrumentation in that paper
Official publication date in 2015
Submission to Zurich Instruments by April, 2016
We thank Michael, Bradley and Fatemeh for their contribution of this year’s Travel Grant Award and wish them a safe trip and a fruitful conference.
To all other contestants, looking forward to next year!
Scientific Workshop Sponsorship 2015
In addition to the three travel grants we also announced our scientific workshop sponsorships, designed to support research teams who are organizing local scientific workshops or events by offering a monetary contribution to help cover running costs.
The Symposium Stuttgart March 2015, organized by David Weber (University of Konstanz), was awarded a Zurich Instruments sponsorship. This symposium on nanocontacts involving molecules, magnetism and superconductivity took place on 26-27 March at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart. We have enjoyed participating to the fruitful and interesting workshop. Pictures will be added to our Facebook and Twitter page, so like and share our page and stay up-to-date on all our activities!
This scientific workshop sponsorship is awarded on a regular basis so, if you fulfill the following criteria, contact Adeline de Wilde for more information and/or details:
Organization of the workshop must happen locally to the research team
The workshop topic must have significance for the market of Zurich Instruments and have a considerable scientific focus
The typical workshop size will be between 30 and 100 attendees
The workshop must take place in 2015
Premium Customer Care
We're pleased to announce an updated version of LabOne. With LabOne 15.01 a range of new functionality is added that further expands your Instrument's flexibility whilst maintaining the highest quality standards you have come to associate with Zurich Instruments.
This update is free of charge for all Zurich Instruments customers and highly recommended to all users. The installers are available from the download page and you need to log in with your account credentials. Updating is advised not only to enjoy the new functionality but also to make sure that you can continue to receive the best possible support from our customer service team.
UHFLI users benefit from a large number of additions brought to the LabOne user interface. The most important highlights are:
- UHF-DIG Digitizer NEW option: Scope enhancement with continuous scope streaming, Scope trigger output on Trigger 1/2, gated triggering, Hold-off specified as number of trigger events, support of Boxcar, demodulator, and PID data recording, cross-domain triggering for scope based on Boxcar, demodulator, and PID data
- UHF-PID Quad PID controller option: PID Advisor with multiple models and an auto-tune feature
- Scope: spectral density and support of different window functions for FFT
- Sweeper: indicator for estimated sweep time
- Arithmetic Unit: support of multiplication and Boxcar data
- UHF-BOX Boxcar option: reporting of the current data streaming rate
Please note, the UHFLI firmware has also been improved and a hence a firmware update is necessary. The Firmware update guide shows how to do that quickly.
HF2LI and HF2IS users also benefit from several improvements and bug fixes on the server and the ziControl user interface such as:
The ZSync port now allows the timestamps of two or more HF2LI devices to be synchronized using the /DEV*/SYSTEM/SYNCENABLE and /DEV*/SYSTEM/SYNCRESET nodes
Selecting the external 10 MHz reference clock when no signal is present no longer causes device restart
Please refer to the Release Notes file in the download area for a full list of changes, as well as for instructions how to update the software.
- Asia INTERMAG, CNCC Beijing, China, May 11 - 15, 2015
- CLEO 2015, San Jose, USA, May 12 - 14, 2015
- Sensor + Test 2015, Nürnberg, Germany, May 19 - 21, 2015
- XXXVIII ENFMC / Expo Física 2015, Foz do Iguaçu in Paraná, Brazil, May 24 - 28, 2015
- CAP Congress, University of Alberta, Canada, June 15 - 19, 2015
- LASER World of Photonics 2015, München, Germany, June 22 - 25, 2015
- IPFA, Lakeshore Hotel, Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan, June 29 - July 2, 2015