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Piezo Stage Package for High-Resolution Microscopy by PI

Piezo scanners are fundamental tools for high-resolution microscopy as the rapid response and sub-atomic resolution is instrumental in acquiring high-quality images quickly. Specializing in motion and precision positioning products for scientific applications, PI has released a second generation of its PInano product line of high-resolution XY/XYZ multi-axis positioning systems. The package includes the piezo scanner, software and a new digital controller.

Digital controller with fast focus and freeze, automated scans

The digital servo piezo controller offers the advantage of higher linearity, simple operation and easy access to advanced features in comparison with conventional analog piezo controllers. It provides responsive real-time tracking, and it supports PI's unique Fast Focus & Freeze capability, where the unit can be bumplessly switched from external (focus) sensor to internal (capacitive, SGS or piezo-resistive) sensor, allowing precise, calibrated, stable motions with respect to the focal plane. A software package is included: drivers for LabVIEW, dynamic libraries for Windows and Linux, MATLab. The system is also compatible with major image acquisition packages, such as MetaMorph, µManager, Andor iQ. Interfaces consist of USB, SPI, RS-232 and analog. Supported functions include wave generator, data recorder, auto zero, and trigger I/O.

200-µm travel, millisecond response time

The low profile (20 mm/0.8"), long travel of 200 µm and millisecond step time make the PInano II piezo positioning systems suited for super-resolution microscopy and imaging applications. Microscope slides and Petri dishes are accommodated in the large clear aperture. Preloaded Picma high-performance piezo actuators feature cofired ceramic encapsulation and provide better performance and reliability than conventional piezo actuators, according to the manufacturer. Actuators, guidance and sensors are maintenance-free, not subject to wear and offer reliability and cost effectiveness. In life tests carried out by NASA/JPL for the Mars Mission, the actuators survived 100 billion cycles without failures.

Applications of the PInano II 

Fields of applications include microscopy, confocal microscopy, 3D imaging, screening, autofocus systems, surface analysis, and wafer inspection.


  • Low-cost Piezo-resistive and high-end capacitive sensor versions available
  • High-Speed version for particle tracking
  • Millisecond step & settle
  • Low profile for easy integration: 20 mm (0.8")
  • 200 µm travel ranges in XY and XYZ

Standard and custom

PI has in-house engineered solutions and can modify existing product designs or provide a fully customized OEM part to fit the exact requirements of the application.

Labels: Piezo scanners,high-resolution microscopy,precision positioning,PInano,multi-axis positioning systems

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