Applications: PI Products for Microscopy / Imaging

Piezo positioning & scanning stages are fundamental tools for high-resolution microscopy. The rapid
response and sub-atomic resolution allow scientists to create higher-quality images faster.

PI provides a large variety of fast objective lens positioners (Z-motors), as well as sample scanners for deconvolution and 3D imaging (Z-stack acquisition) and fast focusing stages.

PIFOC® piezo-actuated Z-scanners typically achieve 10 times higher focusing speed & precision than motorized drives. Controllers come with a high-bandwidth analog interface for extremely fast response and compatibility with all major image acquisition packages.

See below for more indepth information on Characteristic Operation Modes of Microscopy Scanning Stages.

Technical Papers
Optical Trapping: Optical Traps Enter New Era of Nanomanipulation.
Nanopositioning Stage Pulls Piconewtons in Molecular Stretching Application.
Control Technology Helps Reduce Errors in High-Speed Scanning Applications.
Development of an Optical Tweezer Combined with Micromanipulation for DNA
     and Protein Nanobioscience.

Adapting a Compact Confocal Microscope System to a Two-Photon Excitation
     Fluorescence Imaging Architecture.

Technical Papers on PIFOC® Objective Scanners
Download the "Tools for Microscopy" Catalog
Confocal Microscopy, Focusing, Z-Stack Image Acquistion
PIFOC® Well Plate Scanner Piezo Stage
  • Piezo Specimen Z-Stages & Piezo Objective Scanners
PIFOC® Objective Nanoscanner
P-737: Fast Piezo-Z Stage for Microscope Automation, 3D-Imaging
Ultra-low Profile Nanopositioning Scanning Stages
P-736 Fastest slide scanners
P-721: Quick Lock Improves PIFOC® Nano-Focus Z-Drives
P-725 PIFOC® High-Speed Z-Stack Image Acquisition / Fast
     Autofocusing Drives Provide Longer Travel Ranges.

Microscopy Z-Stages / Objective Nanofocusing Systems
Characteristic Operation Modes of Microscopy Scanning Stages
PI nano™ Z, High-Speed piezo-driven slide scanner. 5 millisec response time.
PIFOC® High-Speed Nanofocusing/Scanning Z-Drives
PIFOC® Long-Range, Nanofocusing Z-Drives
P-541.Z Low-Profile Z/Tip/Tilt Piezo Stages for Microscopy
Scanning Microscopy, Optical Trapping (Tweezers), SNOM, AFM, E-Beam
PI nano™ Low-Profile, Low-Cost Nanopositioning Systems for Super- Resolution Microscopy
  • Fast XYZ Nanopositioning Systems
  • Piezo Nanopositioning Stages
  • Shear Actuators
  • PicoCube® Scanner
  • Scanner Tubes
Why Parallel-Kinematics Stages Provide Better Multiaxis Precision
Ultra-Low Noise Controller for PicoCube®
Scanning Stages with Clear Aperture
Shear Actuators: X, XY, XYZ
Piezo Tube and Tubular Stack (Ring) Actuators
Characteristic Operation Modes of Microscopy Scanning Stages
PicoCube™ in Open source/real-time atomic force microscope architecture
     for force spectroscopy
PI nano™ Open-Frame Microscope Stage, Long-Range Motion for Sample Positioning
PIMars™ XYZ Piezo Scanning- and Nanopositioning Stages
Ultra-Precision Trajectory, XY Nanopositioning Stages with Parallel Metrology
P-517 Multi-Axis, Piezo Nanopositioning / Scanning Stages with Parallel Metrology
P-111 PICA-Shear Piezo Actuators—Compact Multi-Axis Motion
Piezoceramic Scanning Tubes
PicoCube® High-Speed, XY(Z) Piezo Stages for Nanotechnology, SPM, AFM
Screening, Long Range Scanning
Long-Travel, High-Dynamics Scanning System
  • Voice-Coil Scanning Stages/Positioners

Laser Beam Steering, Stabilization
Ultra-Long-Range Piezo Tip/Tilt Mirror
  • Tip/Tilt Mirrors (Active Optics)
Fast Steering Mirror, Tip-Tilt Platform & Active Optics Selection Guides
Sample Positioning, XY-Stages
M-686 Ultra-Stability Piezomotor Microscope Stage
  • Stages with Linear Piezomotors or DC Motors
Biophysical Paper (Design Considerations for Stability), comparing M-686 ceramic-
     motor stage to lead screw microscopy stages

M-686 Open-Frame XY Piezo-Motor Positioning Stage with Linear Encoders
M-663 PIline® Smallest Closed-Loop Translation Stage with Ultrasonic
     Piezo Linear Motor

Translation Stages with PILine® Ultrasonic Piezo Linear Motors
Translation Stages (DC-Servo, Stepper Motor, Manual)
Vertical Stages

M-663 PILine® Miniature Translation Stages with Piezo Linear Motors
M-014 Ultra-High-Precision, Side-Drive Stages with Magnetic-Kinematic Bearings
Vertical Micropositioning Stage
Sample Positioning (Very High Resolution)
Preloaded Open- & Closed-Loop Piezo Translators
  • Piezo Actuators
Preloaded Piezo Stack Actuators for Medium Loads, with Position Sensor (optional)
Digital Controllers for High Speed Tracking
Multi-Channel Digital Piezo Controllers with Dynamic Linearization
  • Digital Controllers with Optional InputShaping®Technology
Patented New Technology Provides Enhanced Positioning Resolution.
Digital Piezo Controllers
Digital High-Speed Piezo Controller for Single-Channel Systems
* Other standard or custom solutions from PI could be even more suitable for your application. Talk to a PI Applications Engineer.

Characteristic Operation Modes of Microscopy Scanning Stages
There are a number of different characteristic operation modes for piezoelectric scanning stages with different stage/controller requirements.

Scan & Return to Image (e.g. Single Molecule Fluorescence Microscopy / Spectroscopy)
In this mode, regions of interest are identified for later study. Critical nanopositioning system features include speed & repeatability.

Advantages of PI Systems:
  • Direct drive system for higher scanning rates
  • Parallel kinematics / direct metrology design principle eliminates accumulation of runout errors and hysteresis.
In optical trapping the stage follows the motion of a particle to keep it centered in the field of view. The stage motion can be used to measure the motion of the particle. Critical nanopositioning system features include speed & trajectory control precision.

Advantages of PI Systems:
  • Direct drive system for faster response
  • Parallel kinematics / direct metrology design principle for straighter motion
  • Digital Control: Allows better velocity and vector control
Scan & Image or Scan & Fabricate
Stage trajectory errors have a direct influence on the image quality. Critical nanopositioning system features include minimal static & dynamic cross coupling, following error and dynamic linearity errors

Advantages of PI Systems:
  • Parallel kinematics / direct metrology design for straighter motion with reduced cross coupling and overshoot.
  • Digital Dynamic Linearization (DDL) greatly improves dynamic linearity
Scanning Probe / Force Microscopy
Stage trajectory control (straightness & flatness) is extremely critical for probe microscopy because it has a direct , influence on the image quality. Other important features: Highly linear motion, fast response, high stability, long travel ranges, low noise.