The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Jonsson School Professor Receives Best Paper Prize for Research on Atomic Force Microscopy

Jonsson School Professor Receives Best Paper Prize for Research on Atomic Force Microscopy

Dr. Reza Moheimani, holder of the The James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, acting associate dean of academic affairs and professor of systems engineering in the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, recently won the best paper award from the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, widely accepted as the premier scientific journal in control engineering.

“I am honored and humbled to have received this award for the second time,” Moheimani said. “It is a true honor that our work was selected as the best from a large number of excellent papers published in the journal in 2016 and 2017.”

Moheimani attended the IEEE Control Systems Society Awards Ceremony at the 2018 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Miami, Florida, on December 18, 2018, to accept the award for his research on multi-frequency atomic force microscopy (MF-AFM). The paper was co-authored by Dr. Michael Ruppert, Moheimani’s PhD student at the University of Newcastle, Australia and a visiting PhD student at UT Dallas.

“A microcantilever force sensor has many modes, and researchers have found that operating it simultaneously in several modes unravels important properties beyond what could be gleaned from conventional AFM,” Moheimani said. “ln this paper, we proposed a robust feedback controller that enables arbitrary control of microcantilever quality factors. This enabled us to improve imaging stability and achieve higher cantilever bandwidth while imaging nanometer features. This work is particularly important in enabling video-rate MF-AFM, a technology that does not yet exist.”

The conventional atomic force microscope (AFM) uses a microcantilever probe to create 3D images of surfaces at extremely high resolutions, on the order of fractions of a nanometer, hundreds of times beyond what is possible with optical microscopy. It is used in a variety of applications such as imaging the structure of biological molecules, studying tissues and cells, such as distinguishing cancer cells from normal cells, and identifying the atomic structure of materials.

Moheimani has focused on control of high-precision mechatronic systems, including the atomic force microscope, throughout his career and won the journal’s best paper prize in 2007 for his research on the control of piezoelectric tube nanopositioners. He previously served as a professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) and Institute of Physics in the United Kingdom.

IEEE Control Systems Magazine recently profiled Moheimani about the best paper prize, his research and his move to the Jonsson School.

The article is also available at the UT Dallas News Center.