Edition Q3/2016

Editorial

LabOne now supports imaging applications
Welcome to our Fall Newsletter! Do you have an imaging application? The latest LabOne version converts one or multiple measurement parameters into images based on a line trigger. Even better, the upcoming release, scheduled for the end of this year, will bring imaging directly to the LabOne user interface. The next article, the customer interview as well as the list of recent publications provide the first glimpse of this development.

On the company side, we took another big step in June by opening an office in China. Learn more about the motivation and the people who drive the new venture in Shanghai in the article below.

We are thrilled to have participated in IARPA's recent LogiQ meeting, a gathering of the leading experts in quantum information processing here in Zurich. Read our report below. With our new UHF-AWG arbitrary waveform generator and its ongoing refinements, we are making a contribution to the long-term goal of developing a full-fledged universal quantum computer.

Finally, please check out our winners of the Student Travel Grant 2016, their winning publications and the new videos on the Zurich Instruments YouTube channel!

New in LabOne 16.04: Image recording

Imaging is one of the most important applications for our customers doing Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) and non-linear imaging, with CARS, SRS and THz spectroscopy, being the most prominent examples. Because every Zurich Instruments lock-in amplifier comes with 4 individually configurable Auxiliary outputs (including offsets and scaling factors) they can be used to provide the measurement signals to the analog inputs of any commercial microscope controller. This analog interfacing has a number of advantages, including quick and convenient setup, also it is generally easy to understand, maintain and use.

Limitations of analog interfacing

Analog interfacing comes with a number of significant drawbacks too. For example

  • The number of analog input channels for many scan controllers is limited preventing multi-channel applications with multiple data sources from demodulators, PID controllers, etc. need to be recorded simultaneously.
  • Converting the measurement signals first to the analog domain and then back to the digital domain can deteriorate the signal-to-noise ratio due to conversion loss.
  • The dependency on controller hardware and its limitations regarding speed, resolution and input range.

LabOne Imaging

The obvious solution to these drawbacks is to take the data directly from the measurement instrument and convert them into images. This requires

  • A clear definition of a "line", based on a starting event detected by the line trigger and a user-defined duration.
  • The resampling of the recorded data samples to the required number of pixels with a suitable interpolation and/or averaging.
  • To store the matrix-like data in a grid data structure, based on the number of lines defined.

All this is now implemented in the LabOne Software Trigger module. With the power to stream up to a sustainable 800 kSa/s over multiple channels in a triggered fashion (depending on product category), the LabOne server architecture is strong in data acquisition capability, even video rate (512*512 pixel/s) would still be well below the transfer rate limit.

Images worth a thousand words

In a real world application, our customer Ehsan Esfahani (see interview below), obtained multiple dual frequency resonance tracking (DFRT) images saved concurrently from the new LabOne (16.04 release) Software Trigger Module with Grid mode. Some examples are displayed on the left: amplitude, phase, frequency and Q-factor.

For further information please check the latest blog of Romain Stomp and Daniel Wright or get in touch with our customer service.

Recent imaging publications with Zurich Instruments lock-ins

Customer Interview: Ehsan Nasr Esfahani

Ehsan Nasr Esfahani, Clean Energy Institute, University of Washington in Seattle and Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China

Hello Ehsan, it is good to see our customers measuring all over the world as you've been hopping back and forth between the USA and China. Can you tell us more about your research and what benefit you have in measuring in totally different labs?

My research is towards developing new techniques for probing energy storage materials with nanoscale spatial resolution. Most of our high-precision measurements are based on Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) methods, where we mostly look at the tiny motion of an SPM probe in different modes. Our labs in Shenzhen and Seattle have different equipment and measurement devices each necessary for a specific type of test. After all, it is a good excuse to travel around!

I've heard before that the future of SPM lies in Probes & Modes, what's your take on that?

Although SPM is a versatile tool for measuring a variety of different physics right beneath a probe tip, it has quite simple principles: a finger-like probe is touching a sample, feeling a certain behavior. The rest is up to us, how to touch, and how to feel!

Let me give an example. We recently utilized a new "heated probe scheme" in our AFM where a solid state resistor was used to elevate the temperature at the probe tip. If you apply a modulated current at frequency f to the resistor of this probe while it is in touch with the sample, the temperature of the probe and the probe itself starts to oscillate at frequency 2f. It turns out that ions, if present under the probe tip, will be oscillating at frequency 4f. So, it is still the classic AFM contact mode that has been used for decades, yet a new patent-pending and unique method to look at the ionic motion of energy storage materials with an unprecedented resolution has recently been published: Scanning thermo-ionic microscopy for probing local electrochemistry at the nanoscale

I guess I answered your question, right? But don't forget that the necessary condition is the ability to reliably acquire data!

You were among our first users to benefit from the very latest LabOne release, and you were pretty quick to master it, how useful is it to record images directly from a Line trigger with grid alignment?

Well, it made my life much easier. In the case of imaging it is always beneficial, yet not easy, to have the measured data aligned with the probe motion. It simply made the visualization and post processing more straightforward. I look forward to seeing a real-time imaging tool in your next versions. That would be exciting.

Do you think that 6 demodulators per input are enough or are you already dreaming of more ;)? How many images can you make at once?

Well, my general rule for many cases is "the more, the merrier" and I guess this is not an exception. But 6 demodulators combined with a quad PID are just more than enough for measuring even complicated high harmonic physics. I easily get 12 images at once.

For the kick of it, how would you characterize ZI support over multiple sites? We want an honest answer.

My time in China was very limited and I had to learn to operate our brand new HF2LI in a brief period of time. In addition to the user-friendly LabOne interface, the ZI support made a valuable contribution to shortening the learning time and solving the challenges we were facing. In general, they are very responsive, always coming up with a practical solution in a short period of time. I found them to be knowledgeable also about many applications and not only about their own products.

How is it to be a "visiting scientist" in China? What do you enjoy the most from this cultural exchange?

It is a great and unique experience to be a visiting scientist in China because of the broad resources available to scientists. In terms of cultural exchange, the food and the culture around the food is definitely the most interesting. We have lots of group lunches and dinners every week where tons of different dishes are being ordered!

Company News: Shanghai office opened

Davis Wang, Country Manager China

James Wei, Business Development Manager Greater China

In order to provide a better service to our customers in Greater China, Zurich Instruments launched a subsidiary in Shanghai, China, on June 23rd. The new site is Zurich Instruments' first full-fledged overseas daughter company. Davis Wang (38) has been appointed to be the local Country Manager and will lead the operation together with James Wei (41), Business Development Manager Greater China.

Davis Wang has a long standing experience in scientific and technical sales in China. With his impressive 10-years track record at DEWETRON he adds the experience to run and ramp up a Chinese subsidiary to the team. Davis commented: "I am very excited to be part of this highly innovative company with an excellent brand and lead the business development in China. After we get the office basics operational here in Shanghai, we will immediately be looking at hiring people and building a team with a good mix of technical and business related expertise."

James Wei, born in Canada with roots in Taiwan, fluent in English, French and Mandarin, has been with Zurich Instruments' Marketing & Sales team for 5 years now. During that time his focus was on international sales and business development in Asia. He knows the products and applications for high-end instrumentation inside-out and will contribute to building the local customer support.

Zurich Instruments co-founder and CEO Dr. Sadik Hafizovic commented: "Greater China is of great strategic importance to our company and we believe that a Chinese office with local people will help us tremendously in getting a tighter link to our Asian customers, providing better customer service to the Chinese scientific community as well as to the R&D departments of the corporate world. Personally, I'm thrilled about this step as it marks another important milestone towards becoming a global technology leader in test & measurement."

Get in touch

Zurich Instruments (Shanghai) Ltd.
Room 2015-2016, Block A
Gateway International Plaza
325 Tianyaoqiao Road, Xuhui District
Shanghai 200030
China

phone +86 21 6487 0285 / 87
fax +86 21 6487 0289
davis.wang@zhinst.com
www.zhinst.cn

Partners & Projects: Zurich Instruments supports efforts towards a universal quantum computer

Experts from the quantum computing community met in Zurich on August 24-26, 2016, within the scope of LogiQ, a program of the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), to address superconducting-technology-based and ion-trap-based quantum computers. Zurich Instruments participated as a supplier of arbitrary waveform generator (AWG), signal acquisition and control technology. Among the other participants were teams led by IBM, Duke University and Delft University of Technology. The LogiQ program has been running since February 2016 and aims to overcome the current technological limitations of universal quantum computers based on quantum systems.

As part of the meeting, Zurich Instruments invited the participants to a company tour at Technopark Zurich. In several short sessions the visitors were guided through a story of a startup, its products and its current challenges and visions. The Zurich Instruments team also introduced its AWG product that controls flux lines and sets qubits with RF pulses in superconducting-based quantum systems. The guests were also able to get hands-on experience using the instruments, pose questions and exchange ideas with a team of application scientists, software and hardware specialists.

We thank the organizers of the LogiQ meeting for this opportunity and the participants for their great presentations and exciting discussions!

Latest videos on our YouTube Channel

Paolo introduces the LabOne Oscilloscope and Digitizer functionality. Learn about the main features and how to use them in your experiment.

The latest video is focused on the LabOne time domain analysis tools. Learn more about the Numerical Tab, the Plotter and the Software Trigger.

Winners of the Student Travel Grants 2016

It has been an exciting experience for us to learn, through the submitted papers, about work and different applications of our instruments in various research groups all around the world. We congratulate this year's winners of the student travel grants 2016:

  • Le Wang, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, USA
  • Pascal Grégoire, Université de Montréal, Canada
  • Jens Grimmel, University of Tübingen, Germany

We support their travel to a scientific conference with a grant of 1,500 CHF.

You can read the winning papers here.

Le, Pascal, Jens, what is the application for which you used the Zurich Instruments device?

  "The unique capability of multiple harmonic demodulation and accessibility for programming allowed us to reconstruct the nanoscale near-field vertical interactions in scattering-type near-field optical microscopy."

Le Wang, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, USA

   
  "Our multidimensional spectroscopy technique uses a sequence of ultrafast laser pulses to unravel coherent energy pathways of semiconductors on a femtosecond timescale. The Zurich Instruments HF2LI lock-in amplifier, with its amplitude modulation feature, extracts simultaneously weak nonlinear signals associated with multiple energy pathways in an accurate and convenient way."

Pascal Grégoire, Université de Montréal, Canada

   
  "In our experiments we study spectra of highly excited atomic states (Rydberg states) of Rubidium by means of an effect called electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT) for which two laser beams are counterpropagating through a sample of Rubidium vapour and the transmission of one of the beams is measured by a photodiode. We use the HF2LI to demodulate this transmission signal while modulating the intensity of the other laser beam and in order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio even further, we utilise the frequency modulation options of the device on top of that."

Jens Grimmel, University of Tübingen, Germany

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